In 2015 when I joined the bank, more than three quarters of people were unhappy with their banks. In my discovery phase, I try to build a simple model to understand and map the business by following the customer, following the product and following the money.

⇢ The root cause of this unhappiness was that customers didn’t understand the product or services that the bank offered.

The bank typically used bank speak – full of jargon and technicalities that made an already dubious area quite scary.

At the same time of taking on the Head of Product & Marketing role at the bank, I also assumed General Manager of the Scotiabank Foundation. What became apparent very quickly was that the general understanding of personal finances was a common gap amongst many individuals, regardless of social status, and what every person craved was human speak – non-bank, non-jargon language that clearly articulated the benefit to the customer.

What both positions offered me was the opportunity to connect with clients and stakeholders across the bank, from Wealth, Commercial, Business, Retail clients, to beneficiaries and non-profit organizations. I was lucky to have access to myriad of brilliant minds, however my experience was not afforded to many. At every event, meet and greet with executives, or access to information or insight, from subscriptions to white papers, it was like a movie on repeat; same people, same audience – in summary, same everything. Sameness.

There was a general lack of understanding of the products and services that we offered to the majority of the base, and access to forums and avenues to help facilitate further understanding was limited to the people, who probably didn’t need it (or need it as much).

Therein was the opportunity.

How could we solve this problem? What would the impact be on the business and our clients? What product or service would drive this change and impact?

The solution developed was Scotia Insights. The goal was to provide clients with access to some of the brightest minds in the industry, leveraging global expertise, never losing sight of the ‘why’, using a storytelling format.

We embarked on the journey to build and scale a solution to close the access gap. 

Insights featured speakers who shared their journeys with the bank’s clients through a story that was easy to understand and one that was relatable. It was essential; no, critical, that our speakers talk like human beings, avoiding unnecessary jargon.

And the stories and speakers required authenticity. At then end of the story, clients were given the opportunity to ask questions to spark conversation – free to express opinions. Time was also set aside in a less formal setting to encourage networking amongst participants and provide them with access to key players in the industry.

In early 2016 we launched the first Scotia Insights with entrepreneurs.

Over the next five years insights ranged from Cybersecurity to Investing and Banking Online. When the pandemic hit we pivoted to the online series, which opened up the audience further with more that 5,000 clients having access to real life insights. The team at the bank continues to evolve and innovate, using different mediums to connect with audiences where they are – from Instagram to Facebook – insights are shared and conversations generated.

So back to the problem identified. How did insights solve for this?

There was a general lack of understanding of the products and services that the bank offered’

There’s a saying that people don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill. They wan a quarter inch hole.

People didn’t want lines of credit or mortgages. They wanted to purchase assets to grow their business, or have access to products to help with cash flow, or get access to tools that would help with productivity, or they wanted a home.

Scotia insights showed clients how they could get to the hole using a myriad of tools, not only a drill, and pushed out of the box thinking for clients to consider ‘was there even a need for a hole?’

I could go on and on with this analogy, but won’t.

Bottom line. Insights solved the client problem, and when you followed the client, product and money, the results followed.