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Pension Bee’s brand strategy: Making pensions accessible to the many, not the few

July 4, 2024
Written by:

After experiencing her own frustrations with workplace pensions, Romina Savona, Founder of PensionBee, along with co-founder and chief technology officer Jonathan Lister Parsons, decided to do something about it. Launched in 2014, PensionBee was created to offer their customers better financial freedom, away from the archaic systems, complex paperwork, and excessive fees Romina had experienced herself.

Customers to the front:

(Source: Pension Bee ‘Meet the BeeKeepers’)

PensionBee likes to be known as a brand for everyone. They have five core values at the forefront of their business: Love, Honesty, Quality, Simplicity, and Innovation. They strive for social inclusion, financial freedom, and good health.

Jasper Martens, PensionBee CMO, stated in a recent article that the key to successful marketing and what makes a ‘good lead’ is by tapping into customers' emotions, and knowing your customer inside and out.

One key element for supporting their customers emotionally is by providing first class customer service. When you register with PensionBee, you’re assigned your own “BeeKeeper”, this is someone who becomes your UK-based account manager, guiding you through all the ins-and-outs of your pensions and offering ‘human support’, not just automated systems.

In late 2021 they developed a strong marketing strategy to drive sign-ups that proved successful (75% increase in registered users from the previous year). When it comes to their social marketing, they focus on channels such as Facebook and Instagram (this is what their target audiences use mostly), showcasing short and impactful videos, infographics and organic content (The Fintech Hub, 2021). They’re now multichannel marketing, and adapted well during the pandemic by using radio promotion as people were listening to radio and podcasts at home more often.

PensionBee also has a hive of ‘Honey makers’; these are customers that can sign-up to test new features, take part in surveys, and focus groups. They’re then given opportunities to take part in competitions to win prizes from their contributions. This gives their customer base the opportunity to really shape the growth of the business.

“Make people laugh rather than tell them you’re funny.”

Customer Reviews (Source)

PensionBee likes to promote what their customers are saying, as a proven marketing strategy, referral marketing (on and offline) can significantly increase trust and loyalty from customers, as well as enticing new customers. According to Nielsen, word-of-mouth is still the most trusted channel among consumers, and marketers should be as people-focused as possible.

“88% of global respondents trust recommendations from people they know more than any other channel.” (Nielsen, 2021)

Building trust and loyalty is a big hurdle in financial services marketing. Customers inherently don't trust what finserv brands say, so proving your brand is trustworthy can be the greatest challenge. The biggest lever we used at Yolt was switching our advertising to focus on user stories that our audience could relate to. Similar to PensionBee, by showcasing that they offer a great service via the words of the consumer, and not via what they assume people want to hear.

Did you hear…

Driving reviews for your business can really enhance your profile, which is exactly what PensionBee have done. They let the customers do the marketing for them. On their website, there’s a full page dedicated to customer reviews via TrustPilot, boasting 658k registered customers, a 4.5 rating out of 5 on Boring Money, and 4.6 average out of 5 on TrustPilot, as well as featuring customer video statements and press opinions such as the Daily mail and Financial Times.

Forbes recently reported that by using customer reviews in your content strategy it can really enhance customer engagement and improve brand awareness. And according to Power Reviews, ​​79% of consumers specifically seek out websites with product reviews, up from 63% in 2018.

Customer reviews online are now more valuable than ever. Since Covid hit, many people have relied on online purchases,and are now using online shopping more frequently than before. McKinsey & Company released a podcast episode in February 2022 hitting on just that! Highlighting how customer reviews influence fellow consumers buying behaviors, and especially when it’s something of a large financial investment.  

(Source: Pension Bee Instagram - Patricia Bright)

“Dance on other people's dancefloors" through strategic partnerships with like minded brands and influencers.

Not only do PensionBee build trust through their referral marketing, they also work hard on their collaborations. They cross-promote their ‘Pension Confident’ podcast across their social media channels, featuring trusted people and businesses within the financial sector such as Emma Jones (CBE of Enterprise Nation), Damien of ‘Money to the masses’, and most recently a paid partnership with Patricia Bright, founder of ‘The Break’.

To encourage even more promotion via their customers and networks, they offer a referral scheme whereby customers get £50 for every successful ‘ friend referral’, and if the ‘friend’ joins they also benefit from receiving £50.

(Source: Pension Bee - Refer a friend)

What can we learn from them?

  • Customer centric marketing - Tapping into consumer emotions, providing them with bespoke support and resources for their specific needs with a kind and caring approach. Everything they’ve done so far is putting the customer first.
  • Combining this with the Honey Makers community makes the business feel more authentic.

  • Testimonials -  They’ve built a platform on referral marketing. Having testimonials accessible across their website, and social media channels to drive home the point that they are a trusted business with excellent customer and press loyalty.

  • Collaborative approach - Cross-marketing with their podcast featuring well known people who have authority in their field. Putting customer stories front and centre of their paid ads and channels, and working with influencers and partnerships have been essential players in their marketing growth.

Next: Meta’s rebrand breakdown.