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Case Study: Using Digital Content to Maintain Trust in a Major Banking Brand

July 24, 2023

Venturing into new markets comes with its unique set of challenges. Aprio has carved a niche in assisting national and global organisations in setting their footprint in key geographical areas. A testament to this is our work with Absa during their establishment in Africa, following the Barclays PLC sell-down.



The Challenge


How to reassure existing stakeholders?


We were tasked with creating a strategy to safely and securely safeguard Absa’s reputation as it transitioned from Barclays Africa. We needed to deploy a digital communication network to quickly reach high-net-worth clients, as well as significant financial bodies, government decision-makers and banking regulators across 10 markets in Africa.


The Solution


Sustaining Brand Confidence Through Digital Trust


Transitioning from a known brand, Barclays Africa, which had over 100 years of built-up equity in certain markets, to a relatively unfamiliar brand in Africa, Absa, was presented with some very unique challenges. To bridge this gap, we proposed a reassurance campaign, rooted in thought leadership styled content and delivered on a bespoke, consumer-styled online portal and distributed using newsletters and social media.




The reassurance campaign wasn’t about outright promotion; instead, it was an effort to cultivate a sense of trust and familiarity with Absa among key stakeholders during the transition period: Before, during and long after it had its new brand in place.


What is a Reassurance Campaign?


The concept of a reassurance campaign centres on effective communication during significant organisational changes, like rebranding. The aim is to assuage concerns and uncertainties by emphasising the brand’s unwavering commitment to core values and quality. The focus is not just to maintain current stakeholders but to attract new ones, creating an atmosphere of excitement and positive anticipation towards the new direction.



Unpacking the strategy


The Audience


The target audience encompassed key stakeholders and corporate clients, government officials, regulatory bodies, major suppliers, and industry players.


Woman with building behind her
Targeted decision-makers from right across the continent were identified as key initial audience.


The Platform & Content


We developed a bespoke communication platform, a digital magazine titled ‘Evolve’. The content pillars of Evolve included African Voices, Innovation, Access to Banking, Continental Shift, Partnering, and News, all designed to portray Absa as a thought leader and build brand trust.


Measuring Success & Reporting


To assess the ongoing success of the campaign, we tracked mailer engagement and magazine/content engagement and provided analytic reports to measure effectiveness.


Results & Success





Launched in 2018, Evolve’s initial circulation of around 500 targeted key influencers. As it grew, it consistently surpassed market-average open rates. The last issue saw an incredible 130% open rate, largely because of the strong social media support it recieved and due to readers sending it on to their own contacts, proving its success as a media asset.


Evolve’s success transformed it from a quarterly magazine into a vital digital content offering. Not only did it aid Absa in their rebrand, but it also paved the way for other divisions within Absa to adopt this platform and content marketing style.



The effectiveness of our reassurance campaign is evidenced by the significant growth in circulation, a high mailer open rate, and an impressive conversion rate from mailer opens to magazine views. Furthermore, high page views underscore a strong level of audience engagement with the content, confirming the success of our strategic approach.


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