MarketingMonitor: Lloyds TSB Case Study


Banking on Research

Despite taking longer than expected, the concept of banking online is not just something your Scandinavian friends can boast about - nowadays, you can watch your overdraft figure spin like Michael Schumacher's speedometer from the comfort of the UK internet. But a side effect of the recent online banking boom is that there's even more competition than ever with the likes of Egg, Smile and Cahoot providing online-only alternatives to the big brands.

As the big high-street banks have worked on providing a full complement of online services, they have also had to embrace the opportunities and limits of online branding and marketing. As such, The Qualitative Consultancy and Virtual Surveys were employed to carry out in-depth research on a Lloyds TSB branding campaign running across Freeserve and Freeserve properties at three key points in 2001.

The Market
Shown below is the Nielsen//NetRatings top ten UK finance and insurance sites for August, when these campaigns were running, based on at home panels. It's clear that banking sites dominate the top ten, and the level of offline advertising carried out by Egg recently may account for its top dog position, drawing in over 700,000 active users. However, Lloyds TSB is clearly almost on par with Egg, way ahead of the rest of the pack, and the combined reach of its sites exceed its rival, at more than 10% of the audience.

Rank -- Site --- unique audience --- Reach (active) %

  • 1 -- --- 773,562 --- 6.15
  • 12 -- --- 699,936 --- 5.56
  • 13 -- --- 566,740 --- 4.5
  • 14 -- --- 502,076 --- 3.99
  • 15 -- --- 376,456 --- 2.99
  • 16 -- --- 337,694 --- 2.68
  • 17 -- --- 334,758 --- 2.66
  • 18 -- --- 234,120 --- 1.86
  • 19 -- --- 229,402 --- 1.82
  • 110 - -- 221,630 --- 1.76


The Pitch
Freeserve's brief was to reflect and incorporate the brand values Lloyds TSB had successfully implemented throughout its offline marketing activities - a 'modern, innovative and helpful source of financial stages in one's life'. The bulk of Lloyds ad spend was focused on traditional media between February and April, with the different elements of this online branding campaign staggered throughout February to September 2001.

Why Freeserve?
Other than its incredibly public spat with AOL over taxes and its recent 'interesting' naked TV advertising, Freeserve has a somewhat compelling 4.3m unique users circulating through its service (Jupiter MMXI). However, research by TGI showed that there was an even greater synergy between the two brands as 23% of Freeserve users bank with Lloyds TSB, with 24% of its users doing that banking online.

Branding Activities
A key element of the campaigns were to hook into lifestyle and aspirational areas, with an extra focus on functionality, new platforms, tools and usefulness. The four key areas were:

  • Babyworld: sponsorship of the Diary of the Month and the Baby of the Week sections
  • iCircle: sponsorship of the Wedding Planner tool and Sex and Relationships area
  • ITN: logo branding on ITN broadband news stream on Freeserve Plus
  • Freeserve: sponsorship of the Careers and Learning areas, as well as branding on the lifestyle calculator and pop-ups and banner buttons promoting the above content


One of the key distinguishing features of this campaign was the willingness to carry out comprehensive qualitative research, providing useful figures not only for the Lloyds TSB campaign, but also some interesting usage figures across the UK internet.

The main objective behind the research was to provide an understanding of the impact of, attitudes towards and effectiveness of, online advertising. More specifically, it looked at the user's awareness of Lloyds TSB sponsorship and impression of the brand.

The quantitative research focused on a series of samples (target sample of 1000 people per wave, excluding first-time visitors) in February, May/June and September, while the quantitative research was carried out with 16 households throughout the country, utilising discussions about media and lifestyle, observations of respondents online and pre-tasked diaries, recording details of media use and choice throughout the week, especially in context of other activities.

The Numbers
The main aim of enforcing the perception of the Lloyds TSB brand as 'helpful, modern and approachable' was deemed to be successful, mainly through accessibility and the links forged with useful content, media and tools - overall, branding awareness was increased and sustained throughout the test period.

There were, however, more detailed and useful results regarding brand perception and brand recognition - traditionally, the hardest (or most expensive, both in terms of costs and time) method of tracking campaigns, including online.

  • Lloyds logo recognition: Wave1=26%, Wave2=37%, Wave3=36%
  • Lloyds TSB customers: Wave1=35%, Wave2=47%, Wave3=43%
  • Non-Lloyds customers: Wave1=23%, Wave2=36%, Wave3=36%


Brand recognition across the channels was shown to increase also:

  • Learning: W1=28%, W2=38%, W3=38%
  • Careers: W1=35%, W2=40%, W3=39%
  • iCircle: W1=24%, W2=42%, W3=41%
  • Babyworld: W1=19%, W2=40%, W3=35%


An obvious result of the campaigns were that logo recognition across all criteria improved quite radically, with only a small drop-off in the third wave when the ad spend was beginning to be wound down - this could be seen in other results showing a general media awareness slowdown in the third wave, particularly TV. It was felt that the initial campaign had massively increased awareness, while the later sponsorship elements had sustained that awareness. A crucial result, though, was amongst Lloyds TSB's non-customers - 75% of Freeserve users don't bank with Lloyds currently, providing a useful and receptive target group for future campaigns.

While these results proved the success of Lloyds TSB campaign and its methodology, there were also some useful wider findings. Given that NOP Internet Monitor reported in June 2001 that there are four times as many people accessing the internet from home than at work (home usage grew by a third, while work usage remained constant), it's significant that the internet was regarded as the medium of choice at home to be used alongside traditional media - the internet took up a fifth of the user's media consumption, with usage peaks occurring in the evening, regardless of weekdays or weekends. The audience, it appears, is there - it's a matter of finding them, and research like this is rare but invaluable.

Related links: