Last year, Belfius came 4th in the Best Financial Services Sector. This year, Belfius hit first place! How do you explain this amazing evolution? From its inception, Belfius has always put the customer first, across all touchpoints and contacts– both human and digital - as of day one. Because our long-term vision was that satisfied clients would lead to more new clients and more business growth. And two years ago, we added a clear purpose to this: ‘Meaningful and Inspiring for Belgian Society. Together.’ This is part of our DNA: an obsession for customer centricity, and meaningful for society. We also stopped product communication. We focus on communication that brings the purpose of Belfius to life in a relevant way. And we focus on developing innovative solutions that truly put the customer and society first. We put our customers in the driver seat to positively impact society as a whole. We inspire them to make more conscious choices. We believe that this recognition is a reward for more than 5 years of consistency and an acceleration that we have started two years ago. Have you been focusing more on hybridity and being available to your consumers in the digital and the physical world and offering the best of both worlds? From the start, this has been the basis of our strategy: digital yes, but always human. Based on one conviction: our client’s needs and wants will change over time, but a human, warm and personalized approach will always be key to their satisfaction. The impact of digital is that clients do day to day services from home, but request better service and advice when they come to the bank or insurance advisor. That is why we have built in-house a worlds’ best app but also invested in trainings for our agents and specific services for entrepreneurs, private and wealth clients. Therefore, we worked hard to find a perfect balance between developing a top banking app as well as top service in the branches. Our clients highly appreciate this phygital approach.
What has changed in your sector since Covid-19? How has Belfius adapted?
More than anything, the Covid crisis accelerated the roll-out of our strategy “inspire 2025”. A human and digital combined approach, meaningful services and products and authentic communication. We were able to switch to personalized in-app communication with our clients as well as personal contact by appointment - live or via digital channels – because our digital tools were ready. So, we did adapt our tools to clients’ needs; but did not the basics of our business strategy. We also went the extra mile to support our clients proactively. Clients in need got extra financial support and we accepted payment delays for those who were confronted with short term financial problems. This proactive approach was highly appreciated by all our clients.
Speaking of innovation, you recently launched Re=Bel with success. Is this a way for you to approach young people?
Re=Bel is a real success story, with a very large client base, not only youngsters. The reason is that Re=Bel has a clear purpose. It facilitates investing in companies that make a difference for society. It puts our customers in the driver seat, inspires them to invest with a purpose. Re=Bel as one of those services that are the result of our purpose-driven marketing. It is proof that this approach is relevant for lots of people, not only youngsters.
Your staff has a special place in your latest campaigns. What has been the big idea behind having your staff promoting your brand?
We started with a focus on satisfied clients. Once we reached the objective of 95% satisfied clients, we asked ourselves what’s next. The answer is Love. It is a strong one-word equity: ‘For your love, we do more’. An authentic brand tells the same story inside as what it tells outside. We do this since the beginning, with roadshows where we invite our staff and sometimes even clients. A part of that presentation was a video clip with employees. We experienced a big buy-in for the ‘For your love we do more’ brand platform.
Several employees challenged us to rework this internal film into a tv commercial. And this is what we did, creating a very positive and enthusiast commercial that was very well received by the public.
How are you planning on maintaining this first position in the Best Brands ranking? We believe in innovation as driver to build a strong brand. We always start from our purpose and our marketing team has several new propositions in the pipeline. The classic product approach no longer exists as it is almost impossible to create a sustainable differentiation. Brand however still have that power. It is the catalysator that motivates clients and employees, and that steers the business. It is the brand and the purpose that have the power to make a real difference for the client. If we do this well, staying true to our beliefs; we should be able to keep this first position for years.
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