The Sparda-Bank bank creates meaningful connections with customers

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Customers hold a lot of power over a company’s perception and, ultimately, success. With readily available information about you and your competitors right at their fingertips, they can make educated decisions about products and services in minutes. And it’s not the experts or spokespeople they turn to anymore for this information, but fellow peers who have shared their customer experience on social media and other similar platforms.

With this in mind, it’s crucial that your company connects to customers in a meaningful way. How this happens can take on a number of forms, though a recent popular tactic has been to open up the decision making process on creative challenges with clients through cocreation. In this way, you can establish trust with your customers, hearing them out and seriously considering their point of view.

Sparda-Bank, a retail bank serving over 700 000 private customers in and around the city of Stuttgart, turned to jovoto and its creative crowd to help them take on this very concept head on. Together, we developed Mark the Bench, an open call for a bench prototype that could effectively represent the company’s core assets: stability and security, professionalism, intimacy, cooperative, and regionality.

Mark the Bench focused on customer engagement in two strategic ways. First, the entire project hinged on piquing customer interest through clever wordplay. The German word Bank can mean either “bank” (like a money bank) or “bench” (as in the seat, like a “park bench”). Sparda-Bank seized on a connection between these two seemingly different things: a bench can act as the perfect key visual to convey the reliability, stability, and intimacy their bank provides.

Second, at the end of the open call, Sparda-Bank’s jury chose the two finalists that best met the project’s objectives. They were then voted on by the company’s community of clients and employees. The winning bench would later be built and featured in ad campaigns and at events, as well as placed in actual branch locations where they could actually be used. In this way, customers were involved in the decision and could have their say, interacting with the company directly.

“What could be more fitting than letting our customers and employees vote on our new brand motif? We could make that a reality with the help of jovoto.”
– Martin Hettich, Chief Executive Officer, Sparda-Bank Baden-Württemberg

Over a 6 week period—which included halftime feedback with jovoto’s Creative Guide, Philipp Käfer—430 creatives submitted 307 ideas. vibe, by German creative unlime, was finally chosen as the winner. His orange and blue bench consists of a solid base and a flexible backrest, each part standing for, respectively, security and trust and the ability to react flexibly to changing times.  

Sparda-Bank has already created one prototype of vibe, which is featured in the “making of” video here:

And it has appeared in a number of ad campaigns and events, including Sparda-Bank’s recent SpardaGiro spot:

Over the next two years, 30 more benches are planned to be built and distributed to the bank’s different locations, as well as events.

By extending creative decisions to their community of customers, Sparda-Bank gave their clientele a chance to engage with the company in a more personable way, placing their own spin on what it means to be a reliable Bank.

Find deeper insight and details on the cocreation process of Sparda-Bank’s Mark the Bench, check out the success story!

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Anna Piazza

Anna is a digital nomad living the future of work today, traveling and working through the US, Italy, and Germany as a corporate storyteller.