While Virgin Money have a very strong and trusted brand, their limited digital offering was failing to meet the changing expectations of their customers. Customers are increasingly turning to digital channels for their banking needs, and expecting much more from their banks. Virgin Money are very aware that it is no longer enough to just offer customers a set of traditional products. Driving acquisition and loyalty, now and into the future, is dependent on truly understanding the customer and providing them with tailored propositions that satisfy, and even anticipate, their needs and wants.

At the same time, market dynamics were changing. Traditional incumbents were enhancing their digital offerings and new digital natives entering the retail banking marketplace were threatening to take market share.

To avoid being left behind, Virgin Money focussed on three key objectives:

  1. Enhance the bank’s digital capability and expand its footprint in the UK
  2. Attract and delight customers by providing a frictionless banking experience, and offering engaging and integrated propositions
  3. Develop an operating model that would futureproof the business and drive down costs by fostering agility, breaking down cross-functional silos and promoting the use of cutting-edge technology (e.g. machine learning)

Why Elixirr?

Virgin Money share our passion to disrupt their own industry, and our commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation aligned to their culture and core business values. They believed our way of working – centred around small, focused teams that work collaboratively with their own team – would deliver a high-quality outcome uniquely tailored to their requirements.

Being able to draw on our global innovation network would help them identify key technologies to support the delivery of their vision. And they thought our cross-functional, cross-industry experience positioned us well to provide insights from other sectors, which would help them leverage best practice, and build a truly differentiated proposition for the retail banking market. A brand new digital bank. From scratch…

The challenge

Virgin Money wanted to build a compelling digital banking proposition that would transform their customers’ relationship with them as their bank. They also wanted to build a proposition that allowed the business to respond quickly and effectively to the rise of new technologies disrupting existing banking models.

They engaged us to help them define a vision and strategy for the new digital bank. In addition, they wanted us to develop a differentiating value proposition and an operating model that would drive down costs and futureproof the business through innovative technology. Finally, they wanted us to work with them to select the right technology partner to help them actually build the bank of the future.

The approach

We hosted the whole of the Virgin Money executive team out in Silicon Valley, to expose them to our vast innovation network and show them what is in the art of the possible when it comes to banking in ‘the future’. Following the visit, we worked in close partnership with the executive team to articulate a strategic vision and a set of design principles that would guide the development of a future digital banking proposition.

We started by conducting market analysis to uncover the ‘white space’ in the banking landscape. This included a survey that went out to 2,500 customers and multiple focus groups, as well as a market overview of competitors to review the successes and learn from other players in the industry.

From this insight, we defined a data-driven, customer-centric proposition, identifying a set of features that would be vital to the successful delivery of their vision. This included a set of ‘beyond banking’ services designed to remove friction from customers’ major life events. We designed a high-level operating model outlining the relationship between the new digital bank and its parent organisation, as well as the key capabilities, processes and roles required to run the new digital business. Underpinning all of this was the creation and maintenance of a robust business case. This was to drive cost efficiency and foster process automation through cutting-edge technology solutions.

The value

From a blank sheet of paper, we worked with Virgin Money to deliver the very strong foundation stones of a brand new, digital, customer-focussed bank.

They also needed to find the right core banking platform provider on which to build the new proposition. We supported them in this selection by assessing four leading industry solutions and a startup looking to disrupt the industry.

We assisted Virgin Money with mobilising the programme to deliver the new digital bank, including planning support, proposition development and further operating model design.

Finally, we worked with Virgin Money to build out the ‘beyond banking’ MVP (minimum viable product) for the student segment, including building up engagement with the student community, developing a delivery plan, and defining and prioritising proposition features for day 1.

To go from a blank piece of paper to the complete design of a fully digital, futureproof bank aligns perfectly with us as the challenger consultancy.