Awards case study: Standard Life achieves differentiation through real-time social media marketing

Find out how B2B marketing agency, The Crocodile, helped Standard Life differentiate its brand and achieve its highest B2B engagement levels to date through a real-time social media campaign


Standard Life is a long-term savings and investment business, employing 6500 people globally. It looks after over four million clients in the UK, managing over £300 billion assets. The UK strategy is to become customers’ first choice for their life savings. Customers are acquired through the two main channels of financial advisers and workplace pensions.

Challenges and objectives

With significant pension reformsanticipated in the annual UK Budget, Standard Life wanted to reach and engage with the adviser market. A strategic campaign framework fuelled by data, technology and creative was devised to cut through the noise and deliver reach and engagement above and beyond the competition. Working with The Crocodile, The 'Advisor voice' campaign differentiated Standard Life by championing the views and opinions of advisers (rather than purely product messages) to deliver massive reach, the highest levels of adviser engagement on Standard Life B2B social to date, and win the share of voice battle (85%) against Aviva (9%), Royal London (4%) and Scottish Widows (2%).

The requirement was for social media activity that would deliver targeted reach and engagement, and highlight how Standard Life is listening to and supporting advisers in an evolving and uncertain landscape. The primary objectives were to:

  • Be front of mind with advisers and secure share of voice on social media.
  • Differentiate Standard Life from competitors by bringing the conversation up a level.
  • Increase ‘in platform’ engagement with the adviser audience to build more meaningful relationships.

Media, channels or techniques used

Twitter was chosen as the primary RTM and conversational channel for the Budget 2016 'Adviser voice' campaign to hammer home the above advantage achieved by superior social followers over its competitors.

Facebook was included for its ability to deliver reach and engagement cost effectively and at speed. A small investment was made in targeted LinkedIn activity to deliver a final burst of traffic and ensure the Adviser Voice campaign reached as wide an audience as possible.


  • Twitter - keyword and follower (I06k-159k)
  • Facebook - job title and interest (140k)
  • LinkedIn - job title and industry (30k).


Tweet engagement and post engagement advertising formats (ad units optimised for engagement) were used for the main part of the campaign to support the objective of achieving high levels of in-platform engagement. Website Click formats were used post event to promote wrap-up content including a webinar and opinion piece, and to drive traffic to Standard Life’s new CPD learning hub. Sponsored updates on LinkedIn were introduced during the final stage to drive additional clicks.

Insight led strategy

To prepare for the real time marketing activity on the day of the Budget, Standard Life undertook scenario planning, working with The Crocodile to identify and scope possible outcomes and content opportunities. Central to the success of this initiative was the company's ability to monitor existing and past conversations, analyse the topics being discussed and measure resulting engagement and share of voice using Crimson Hexagon to deliver the depth and breadth of conversation and sentiment analysis required to achieve actionable insights.

Key ingredients

  • Messaging, scenario planning, and an activity plan for organic and paid social
  • A team including subject matter experts, advisers, compliance, PR and social, came together on the day to form a Budget ‘war room’
  • Tech-enabled approach with the ability to listen to the conversation, create content, and execute with immediacy
  • A clear process framework as the Chancellor delivered relevant Budget announcements, the war room process kicked in and The Crocodile reached out to the adviser panel for their opinions. The resulting interviews were turned into a series of compliance approved formats and posts.


The campaign comprised of 41 individual pieces of content. The top five performing pieces of content in terms of impressions and engagements all featured adviser opinion – validating the approach. Impressions, engagement rate and reach (Facebook only) were used as the main metrics for the campaign.


  • Daily impressions: 27,500
  • Daily engagements: 200
  • Engagement rate: 1.5%
  • Reach (Facebook only) 35,000.

Actual results

  • Daily impressions: 42,310
  • Daily engagements: 426
  • Average engagement rate: 2.53%
  • Reach (Facebook only) 42,256.

In total, the campaign achieved 423,108 impressions and reached 42,256 people on Facebook, delivering massive reach into the adviser market.

Finally, Adviser Voice secured an 85% share of voice (compared to 31% in 2015), beating competitors Aviva (9%), Royal London (4%) and Scottish Widows (2%).

"The Budget 2016 campaign had a fantastic outcome for Standard Life – both in terms of creating differentiation in the market by delivering great experiences, engagement and sustainable relationships, and using a completely new approach of real-time marketing and user-generated content.

"By listening to our customers, being innovative, organised and capable of applying a focused and purposeful real-time model, we dominated during a key event over the competition with a share of voice of 85%." Susie Logan, head of business marketing and digital, Standard Life.

B2B Marketing Awards 2016

This case study was submitted as part of the judging process for the B2B Marketing Awards 2016. It won the Award for Best use of social media: ‘Budget 2016 – Advisor voice’ for Standard Life by The Crocodile.

See the winners

B2B Marketing Awards 2016