Helping to Realise a Financially Secure Future

The Client

The North East Scotland Pension Fund (NESPF) is one of the largest Local Government Pension Funds in Scotland, looking after 71,000 members and assets worth over £4.3bn.

We were delighted to be selected as NESPF’s digital partner following a nation-wide public procurement bid for their new brand identity and digital presence.

The Brief

At this stage of their digital journey, NESPF made their requirement clear: the development of a Digital Partnership with an agency which works collaboratively to truly understand their needs and drivers. The result being a clear view of their target audience and identifying the key success factors of each engagement we undertake -

  • A new brand identity which is memorable, inclusive and in line with NESPF’s overall strategy. A set of clear brand guidelines will define how this re-brand works locally and nationally and ensuring a consistent deployment; both offline and online.

  • Creation of an intuitive, mobile-friendly and user-focused Website - designed to inspire, engage and inform NESPF’s distinct visitor groups whilst supporting their brand values

Our Solution

All our client relationships begin with a brand discovery phase. This comprises a series of collaborative workshops sessions (delivered equally effectively in person or remotely) which equip our Team with all they need to represent a client’s brand online to the levels our clients expect.  

For more on our brand development approach, click here

Brand Vision

The first workshop is the ‘Brand Heart’ which unearthed the four pillars of NESPF’s brand, proposition and why their approach matters – Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values.

We quickly established that the aim of this re-brand was to convey NESPF as being highly knowledgeable, transparent, experienced and local. These values support a key purpose message: "Everyone deserves to have a financially secure future and we can help them get there."

The aim was to create a brand that would break down the traditional stigmas surrounding pensions, taking them out of the grey and into a more personable and helpful realm. Underpinning this positioning was a need to craft a purposeful brand: not just for today but for NESPF’s future – one which is flexible, comprehensive and intuitive.

Brand influences and reference points

Before working on branding concepts our Team drew on a range of influences which helped steer both the written and visual representation of this new brand – all references were compiled centrally within a branding mood-board which was shared with the client group.

Key to this was the referencing of modern, confident and approachable brands working in a similar space e.g. ‘Tide Bank’.

NESPF’s local focus was another key theme to drive this new brand identity and the client was very enthusiastic about drawing on inspiration from NE Scotland’s renowned coastal landscape and wildlife which influenced the palate and form of the new branding. A further theme to be explored was that of nautical and lighthouses, reflecting NESPF’s key services of guidance and (financial) security.

Brand identity concepts

With the brand discovery workshops and reference mood board complete, we were in a strong position to work up concepts across three potential brand routes.

Following internal reviews and feedback involving a focus group, NESPF opted for the first of the three which explored the following themes: Welcoming / Relaxed / Growth / Open / Nature.

Full Brand identity

With a preferred route firmed up, we worked up the final design which consisted of two typefaces and leading with a soft/round sans serif font, creating a welcoming feeling.

A motif inspired by the iconic puffin combined with nature’s palate across the sand, sky and sea also represents nurturing and growth and across NESPF’s three member types: Active, Deferred and Pensioner.

This stage was complete with brand guidelines ensuring adherence to this new branding standard for NESPF regardless of the deployment.

Website redevelopment

This revised NESPF website offers distinct user groups an intuitive and informative user experience. Underpinning this new site, as with all website development is the Information Architecture, encompassing the navigation structure, user journeys and quantifiable outcomes from a visit.

Agile Website Development Approach

Our version of agile design and development, refined over a number of years, gave NESPF complete visibility of all stages across Sprint planning > Development > Sprint Delivery.

This proven approach enabled our Team to embrace NESPF’s unique culture and needs, with constant communication throughout. The result is greater flexibility, collaboration and overall efficiency, leading to a higher-quality and more user-focussed solution.

To boost user-friendliness, copy was kept simple, jargon-free and broken into small paragraphs as part of the Designs. Visual content, including infographics, interactive elements and images which avoided the cliched financial service/retirement route were deployed to reduce the word count and further increase engagement.

User focused Design and Usability

Key for NESPF was the need to appeal to three different key audiences – active member, deferred member and pensioners – all with different needs/goals -

  • Active (paying into fund) – such as maximising savings / addressing the needs of those who have just joined
  • Deferred – no longer paying in but still have savings with NESPF fund and supporting information access still required
  • Pensioner – e.g. payments and protection for loved ones

A key deliverable of this new site was an intuitive and engaging user experience, especially given the elderly age group concerned. This applied to the clear and simple access to the Resource section which provides help in answering questions on what can be quite a complex subject. Pension related concepts such as the ‘The Rule of 85’ was explained via an interactive ‘checker’ whilst an animation helps explain how a pension is calculated and builds up.

We also had to take on board that many visitors will only make occasional use of the site e.g. when a new annual report is released, so an overall user experience which doesn’t make user think – is essential.

Our Design Team ensured that the brand values captured during the Discovery phase played an influential role in the website’s presentation. Visual engagement was enhanced through a strong palette that reinforces the new brand and the colour concept, representing Nature, Sky, Sea and Sand of the NE of Scotland.

At work, home or on the move, there can be no compromise in terms of how users access the information they need.

Umbraco Open Source CMS

Given our understanding of NESPF’s requirements, Umbraco was the clear CMS choice. Umbraco allows simple yet powerful website management for NESPF’s  web-admin team through a familiar text-editing user interface.

Umbraco’s grid feature allows NESPF to easily choose from pre-designed layouts and add/remove/swap-out different content blocks within them. Through our Umbraco training, NESPF learned how chose a new layout and manage the content-blocks including:

  • Downloadable resources
  • FAQs
  • Blog or news intros
  • Social media feed
  • Enquiry form
  • Image gallery/streaming video

Trust and reassurance are core take-aways for visitors to the site. We needed to ensure compliance and transparency through all required and easily accessed statements and policies. In addition, a secure login for the Board and Committee provides access to all sensitive documentation. All resources and downloads, whether publicly accessed or permission-based are centrally managed through Umbraco.

Delivering a great Content Management System (CMS) for NESPF did not centre on a secure portal for editing content, but an expandable platform that allows NESPF’s site to innovate, adapt and grow with their needs.

Ongoing support and horizon-scanning

The web is a dynamic medium, subject to shifts and advances around technology, browsing habits devices and brand visibility.

It is crucial that we have our clients' back in these areas; ensuring their digital presence is up to speed, ranks well and offers the best user experience regardless of where the user is, their connection or what device they are using.

Each month we report on a range of metrics including website traffic and interactions, page speed insights and content optimisation to ensure NESPF and their web visitors are getting the service experience they deserve.

Results to date

Compared to the same 3 month period last year.

  • + 31% Increase in users
  • + 40% Increase in Sessions
  • + 18% Increase in average session duration
  • + 48% Increase in page views

From the start, Radiator took the time to understand who we were as an organisation, the issues we and our members faced and what we wanted to achieve moving forward.

Their engagement, level of knowledge and expertise proved invaluable and the end result exceeded our objectives and expectations. We are delighted and proud of the outcome and look forward to continuing this partnership.

Louise Campbell, Senior Communications Officer, NESPF

Key Skills

  • Strategic Brand Identity 
  • UX Design 
  • Umbraco development
  • Monthly Horizon Scanning 
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