Sustainability and circular economy are the buzzwords of our era. But how can a local bank show its customers how important sustainability is for our local community? This is how we helped Trøndelag’s largest bank, SpareBank 1 SMN, through a four-chapter visual campaign.
In 2019, the head of marketing at the bank approach us with a green challenge. Their goal was to increase brand awareness and show that our region could play a big part in sustainable development and be one of Norway’s main innovation, technology, and green growth centers.
SpareBank 1 SMN’s experience was that themes like sustainability were hard to show visually and often also hard to break down for their target groups. How could we help make big words like “sustainability” and “circular economy” relevant for local consumers?
We created visual storytelling, in four chapters, to show the community why circular economy and sustainability are important, as well as why sustainability should be top of mind for all local businesses in all fields.
Driving the message home
Our strategy was to show the importance of sustainability in all parts of the regional main business fields, including industry, aquaculture, and agriculture.
The topic of greenwashing companies that in reality don’t care about the environment and sustainability is something marketers have been talking about for several years. That was something we had in the back of our minds while creating this campaign. Since the bank helps finance so many different sustainable companies this was not an issue, and we could use the local companies as our main sources to tell the story. That made the message real for the consumers, and the local value was our gold.
With the content angle we chose, we were able to show how circular economy is, in fact, a part of the existing business ecosystem in our region, as well as all the exciting opportunities that lay before us in the future — if businesses make sustainable choices.
We decided to start with the biogas company, Biokraft, a local entrepreneur success story that turned into the world’s largest factory for liquid biogas. After that, we followed the natural timeline in the story — from the waste from fish farming, through the factory making gas from the waste, the paper factory that also had waste that is used for the creation of biogas — all the way to our local farmer's fields, where the extract of the biogas is used as fertilizer and our local buses use this gas for fuel. Gas made from our previous waste.
Making these stories visual was sometimes challenging. The stories are a combination of text, photos, videos, and some graphic visuals. This allowed us to show the more visual parts for the effect but also hide the less visual parts as text.
We could use the different methods to our advantage to tell the stories in the best way possible. The stories also have somewhat surprising elements not always noticeable — like a movement in the background in a picture that looks to be just that, a picture.
Why did we focus so much on the visuals? We wanted readers to engage all the way through the stories and not fall off, even though the topic is challenging to grasp.
We got over 43,000 pageviews on the stories. While that may not sound like a lot for many, considering the target group was a rather small region in Norway, the numbers are great.
The average reader used just over a minute per chapter, and the bank also got 56 hot leads for new business customers — not a goal but a great result for the bank.