Project Description

Open Up 2020

The Open Up 2020 challenge prize aimed to accelerate the next generation of financial products using open banking for the benefit of UK consumers. The £1.5m prize was run by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE).

Open banking allows people to securely share their bank account data with authorised third-party providers so that their data can be used to help them manage their money – whether that’s by getting a better deal, improve budgeting, or automating saving.

OBIE partnered with Nesta Challenges to run Open Up 2020 to unlock the power of open banking for UK consumers, boosting consumer awareness and adoption of open banking-enabled products to help them make more of their money.

Our approach

Seven delivered an integrated PR and communications campaign, covering multiple channels across earned, owned and paid for media. This ongoing activity was designed to build and maintain awareness of the challenge prize, and to boost consumer awareness of – and increase trust in – open banking.

To reach the correct audiences at different stages, and manage the natural peaks and troughs throughout the challenge prize, the strategy split the communications activity into three phases:

Phase I

Launch and entries open: to raise awareness of Open Up 2020 among fintechs and other potential innovators

• Before launch, we commissioned new research to demonstrate the problem – how the nation would benefit from help to manage finances – for which the challenge was the solution.

• This data was used for the launch release, cut by city for regional releases, and also to plug the quieter periods in the challenge prize with exclusive stats offered to national titles such as The Times and Sunday Express.

• In order to reach innovators throughout this period we placed op-eds with fintech trades including: The open banking opportunity for fintechs and The Recipe Behind the UK’s Fintech Success.

• Over 100 entries were received from fintechs in the UK and beyond – more than 20 more than anticipated.

Phase II

Finalist announcement: to promote the 15 finalists among B2C and B2B audiences

• In Phase II we focused on maintaining B2B coverage, using the 15 solutions as real examples of how innovative products – powered by Open Banking – can transform the way people, particularly the financially vulnerable, manage their money.

• This also allowed us to lay the foundations for the consumer campaign.

• Alongside trade press, we wanted to achieve national/consumer coverage in this period to keep journalists up-to-date with Open Up 2020 and establish a base level of awareness for the finalists among consumers, particularly as we knew many consumers are sceptical about the security of Open Banking and there are hurdles to overcome in the adoption of them.

• The second anniversary for Open Banking fell in Phase II and so, to capitalise on the media interest around this, we conducted another piece of consumer research. We placed the story ‘Top apps to keep your 2020 money resolutions on track’ using the research exclusively with Mirror Online which was widely syndicated across Reach Plc titles in print and on online resulting in dozens of pieces of regional coverage including backlinks to the Open Up 2020 website – building credibility and SEO.

Phase III

Consumer phase: to drive consumer awareness and adoption of the 15 finalists, alongside a digital marketing campaign

• During the consumer phase, activity was closely aligned with a consumer marketing campaign to achieve the objective of raising awareness and adoption among consumers.

• This included both sustained editorial coverage in consumer titles such as Which?, Metro, Sunday Times and Daily Record and paid for advertorials in This is Money and WIRED, including a week-long regional paid test across print and radio in Glasgow to see the effectiveness of paid media in one region.

The Results

We secured more than 550 pieces of coverage across national, regional and trade media. Estimated online coverage views of 2.91m, print circulation of 6.53m and broadcast audience of 459k. This included national coverage in The Times, The Sunday Times, i, Sunday Express and Mirror as well as hundreds of regional hits, including Yorkshire Post, The Scotsman, Reach Plc’s regional network, Bristol Post, Western Morning News and Newcastle Journal. There was significant coverage across fintech and finance press including Forbes.

During the Phase III activity, Open Up 2020 tracked consumer sentiment before and after this test and found:

• Half of Glaswegians (50%) were aware of open banking after the regional media push. Of those, over half (54%) said they had seen something about open banking.

• Those who had seen or heard an Open Up 2020 ad were more likely to feel comfortable using money management tools on their mobile/tablet (80% vs 60%) and feel more comfortable securely sharing their data with regulated providers (52% vs. 33%)

• Those who saw an Open Up ad also had more trust in open banking enabled product’s ability to protect their data (91% vs 71%).

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