Starling Bank launches new brand platform as bank pushes for growth

  • The Bank Built for You’ platform created with Wonderhood Studios

  • Mixed-media campaign designed to drive brand-fame across key audiences

  • Starling increases marcomms headcount by 25% in 2023 as brand awareness reaches all-time high

Friday 19 January 2024 – Starling Bank has created a new brand platform, with a new positioning, strategy and ad creative developed to mark the beginning of an ambitious year of growth for the bank.

‘The Bank Built for You’ platform celebrates how banking is about more than just money, it’s about the people behind every transaction, and highlights how Starling’s creative money-management tools fit into all aspects of life. The campaign nods to the bank’s approach to product development, building the features customers ask for, and creating an experience that puts people first. The campaign is matched by a media-buying strategy that better reflects how real people engage with content.

The TV campaign features three 30-second ad spots, created in partnership with Wonderhood Studios, which each tell a relatable human story that showcases how Starling is ‘The Bank Built for You’. The spots were directed by Lucy Forbes, director of ‘This is Going to Hurt’ and ‘The End of the F***ing World’.

‘The Dessert’ features a frustrated young woman motivated to move out after witnessing her parents sharing an overly romantic kitchen moment. She uses her ‘Move out’ Starling Saving Space to help her reach her goal.

‘Rinsed’ sees an entrepreneurial young girl washing her parents’ car in exchange for pocket money. She receives the money on her Starling Kite app but, unimpressed by the amount, negotiates for more.

‘Night Owls’ features a hard-working lorry driver on a night shift, encouraging his partner to enjoy a night out with friends. Later on, he receives a ‘Karaoke Bar’ spending notification from her on their Starling Joint Account and he drifts off to sleep with a smile.

The ads will launch in primetime spots on Sky, Channel 4 and ITV, starting with triple and double placements in ad breaks. The integrated, multi-platform campaign also includes channel-specific assets created for YouTube, BVOD, radio, podcasts, social and digital.

The bank’s out of home campaign, shot by Starling’s in-house photographer Gina Atanesian, will land across large scale building wraps in Bristol, Leeds, London and Manchester, as well as across national roadside, rail and underground stations. The sites have been chosen for high reach and impact, ensuring people interact with the relatable stories throughout their day.

Starling’s media strategy, created in partnership with Electric Glue, follows an in-depth audience planning project to help the bank define key market segments for its growth across different life stages, from children to the ‘third age’ generation. The media buy is based on a thorough deep-dive into the real-life media behaviours across these market segments and aims to drive brand fame and salience.

The campaign will run for three months initially and marks the start of a long term marketing strategy underpinned by the new brand positioning and audience strategy.

Rachel Kerrone, Brand and Marketing Director at Starling Bank said: “We’ve been building Starling’s brand awareness since launching in 2017 with campaigns that capture our founding mission: to change banking for good. With brand awareness at an all time high, The Bank Built for You platform takes us in an exciting new direction. We’re telling relatable human stories that highlight the unique ways we manage our money. It’s about anchoring our best-in-banking features in reality and showcasing how Starling can change the way people spend and save”.

Eve Stepney, Head of Creative at Starling Bank adds: “We’ve loved sending sheds and people into the stratosphere over the past few years – who wouldn’t? But this time, it felt right to give real human moments the same cinematic treatment. There’s a story behind every pound earned, saved and spent, and everyone involved brought their own weird, joyful, complex money experiences to the creative process. We’re excited to tell even more of these stories through the lens of this new platform.”

The bank’s ambitions for growth in 2024 span account volumes, customer deposits, and the expansion of Starling’s global software business, Engine. These ambitions come as the bank edges closer towards IPO and follow a number of key milestones reached in 2023, such as hitting four million customer accounts, increasing its headcount by 38% to more than 3,000, and opening a Northern base in Manchester.

The bank’s brand push is complemented by a 25% headcount increase in its marketing communications function, headed by the bank’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Alexandra Frean. The function has recently been restructured to ensure better integration across Starling’s specialist brand marketing, product marketing and growth marketing teams, as well as an in-house creative studio, and social media and communications practice.

Jack Croft and Stacey Bird, Creative Directors at Wonderhood Studios said: “Our ambition was to create a campaign with Starling that stood out from the sea of other banking ads that often don’t seem in touch with real people. ‘The bank built for you’ enables us to champion Starling’s unique approach to banking and showcase it in a relatable way. Each film feels like a real moment in a real person’s day, whether funny, lonely, or joyful – something we feel is unique to Starling.”

Pippa Glucklich, CEO of Electric Glue said: “The best campaigns come when different people sit around the table, with creative and media all working together to support an ambitious client. Starling’s new campaign is a brilliant example of this. Our media strategy is designed to build brand reach and stature for Starling as it takes on not just newer banks but the high street giants as well.”

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