Jenny Burns
Director of Brand and Customer Experience
"We don’t want to be corporate and stuffy because our audience isn’t corporate and stuffy"

A new financial services brand for retired people, Just, recently held an internal launch event at the Brighton Centre. One thousand employees had a day-long immersion in to the brand. In the hall, decorated in brand colours, were different expo stands: a museum telling Just’s story, a stand for social purpose and a digital zone.

Just (created in 2016 following the merger of Just Retirement and Partnership Assurance) recognises that being human and delivering a good customer experience starts with the employee.

“Your brand IS your people,” says Jenny Burns Director of Brand and Customer Experience. “The employee experience has to match the customer experience. As we’re a new brand, we have to get the employee experience right first.”

Just has been shaped around being human-centric. “All financial brands should be intimate and human because our relationship with money is such a sensitive area. I think some organisations miss that,” says Jenny.

Jenny realised early on that Just’s employees care about their customers and take pride in responding to their needs. The construct for the brand was born out of a realisation that older people need help in different ways. Just is aware of some of the social and mental problems faced by an ageing population and this is what drives its social purpose to serve one million people in later life. The brand is working with partners to help them better support vulnerable older customers.

Just is smaller than some of its competitors which for Jenny is an advantage: being small enables a more intimate relationship with your audience. “We don’t want to be corporate and stuffy because our audience isn’t corporate and stuffy,” she says, pointing out the Just logo, written in a font that looks hand-drawn.

Jenny says that being human is a huge differentiator. In the complex world of financial services, the brand aims to keep things simple and demystify that complexity. Just is working with the Plain English campaign to simplify customer communication. The website features jargon busters and video explainers to help that process.

Considering its older demographic, Just strives to give people a choice of how to contact them. If customers prefer to chat on the phone, they are there for them. If others would rather chat online, that’s available too. “Through all our digital offering, it’s about making sure we don’t lose human interaction. We treat live webchat as we would a conversation.”

Part and parcel of Just humanising its offering is its sense of duty to help older people become more digitally proficient. They realise how digital empowerment can help older people deal with social inclusion, financial illiteracy, loneliness and mental health issues. Just is piloting digital training for older people, helping them get online and, for example, showing them how to use Skype to talk to family members.

The world of pensions can feel abstract which is why Jenny is keen to tap into the power of stories to help humanise the brand. She mines the organisation for great customer stories that shine a light on the difference Just makes to people’s lives. These are shared internally with a view to sharing any ‘legendary tales’ externally.

“Storytelling is fundamental to our brand. There are so many heart-rending stories under the lid.”

For Jenny personally, she is clearly motivated in her role to make a big difference. “There’s a huge sense of pride. You just want to work here. I’m proud of what the brand stands for.”

Tips for being more human

  • You can’t expect great customer experience if your employee experience isn’t your first priority.
  • Be laser focused on who you can help, and do it well. 
  • Focus on activities that are genuinely life-changing for your audience and play to your purpose. 
  • Storytelling is the most authentic way to build connection in a complex world of rules, regulation and rights.

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