Star Awards 2009
Category – 01
Strategic Excellence Awards
Based in Scotland – Invocas are one of the UK’s leading debt solutions In the face of this Invocas took the strategic decision to focus on a
groups. They offer sustainable, practical solutions for real world customer facing product to recruit customers direct.
situations. Invocas take a proactive approach to debt problems for With no previous ‘business to consumer’ experience (Invocas were
both individuals and companies. The company own and run the effectively a ‘business to business’ concern) the company conceived,
Newtomorrow brand and operate in one of the most competitive branded, resourced and launched the Newtomorrow brand (led by
and changing markets within the UK – the personal and corporate a high profile Direct Response TV and Press campaign starring Blythe
debt solution market. Duff of Taggart fame) on the 25th January 2008 (after a small test
in the Dundee area in late 2007).
The company floated on March the 17th 2006 and derives around
80% of its income from Protected Trust Deeds (a legally binding The success of Newtomorrow has been phenomenal. New clients
derived from the new brand now account for 70% of all Invocas
agreement in Scotland between the debtor and creditor in
Protected Trust Deed work. The initial investment in a heavyweight
which the debtor agrees to make a regular contribution towards
TV and press campaign has shown a direct 3:1 return. In 2007 32%
their debt. At the end of an agreed period of time the debtor
of work came to the company direct from the consumer – in 2008
should be debt free.)
this had risen to 77%. In addition the Newtomorrow brand has
Traditionally Invocas received the bulk of their clients from
broken into a market awash with new and existing companies and
a ‘business to business’ model – through other debt firms who by the third quarter of 2008 had lifted the company to the number
were not licensed to undertake Protected Trust Deeds in Scotland one position within the Protected Trust Deed market. All achieved
and as such passed customers to Invocas. from a standing start in less then twelve months.
However in 2007 this supply of clients began to dry up as these debt As a result Invocas have now expanded the Newtomorrow brand
companies began to undertake their own solutions or found into England and Wales and are targeting 2009 for potential media
alternative methods to deal with their client’s issues. campaign in targeted areas within this geography.
The UK debt market is extremely crowded and complex with a may (or may not) have offered/secured a debt solution with the
large range of competing companies across a wide range of customer (e.g. a consolidated loan) only to find the customers
markets. Traditionally a conservative market, the reputation of situation had deteriorated to a point where they could no longer
the sector has been tarnished with many new entrants launching offer an appropriate financial solution. Invocas had (and still does
services that often had more to do with making a ‘quick buck’ have) an enviable reputation with these ‘work providers’.
rather than resolving the consumer’s core problems. As such the The company is well know within the industry for taking on
level of trust in the sector has declined sharply over the last two
referred cases and handling them in a manner that leads to
to three years with consumers wary of poor advice and
no backlash or issues being passed back to the original
inappropriate products and services.
‘work provider’. As such Invocas was seen as a safe pair of hand
Within this market Invocas (Newtomorrow’s parent company) had
to pass troubled customers on to within Scotland.
positioned itself on a very simple premise – ‘if we do the right
However in 2007 many of these ‘work providers’ began to set up
thing by the customer then we will benefit in the long term’. This
philosophy permeates Invocas with a resultant single minded their own solutions for Scottish customers – a situation that led to
focus on delivering the best possible solution to their customers. much of the traditional source of new customers for Invocas
It should be noted that the bulk of Invocas customers are drying up.
individuals with high levels of unsecured debt who have reached As a floated company Invocas could not afford to lose income
a position where re-paying the full debt is no longer a viable associated with such cases. Following a consultation period it was
option. Some of these cases are tragic with massive debt clear that Invocas would need to turn to the ‘coal face’ and recruit
mountains that dominate the customer’s lives in a way that is customers direct.
hard to imagine for people who have never experienced such a
As a traditional ‘business to business’ entity this was not
situation. This in turn makes them vulnerable and open to
something that the company had any experience in. It had been
exploitation by individuals or companies who present ‘quick and
decided from an early point that the group name – Invocas –
easy fix’ solutions. Invocas have always believed that solutions
need to be tailored to the debtor, while at the same time was inappropriate for a direct recruitment brand – the senior
extracting the best deal for the creditor. management wanted to keep the Invocas name as the group
Until mid 2007 Invocas received most of its business by referral name. The start point therefore was to construct a ‘Brand
from companies (‘work providers’) who were not licensed to give Hierarchy’ to outline the new brand’s positioning in the market
the same level of help that Invocas could offer in Scotland. These by identifying the core brand values, the target audience and the
‘work providers’ were often other debt solutions companies who long term ambition for the brand.
VISION “Where do we want to be in 5 years” “The first choice provider of personal debt
solutions in Scotland.”
CUSTOMER “Why do we believe this to be true?” Invocas have a track record in professional,
customer orientated debt solutions.
INSIGHT The market is dominated by companies more
interested in their fees rather than the most
relevant solution for the client.
There is a perceived gap in the market for a
company who focus on the customer’s key
issues and offer ‘independent’ advice.
TARGET “Who are our key target markets?” PRIMARY
Individuals with significant debt problems but
CUSTOMERS who still retain the financial ability to resolve
Lower income – C1C2D, home owners (or with
income sufficient to address their issues).
Individuals who have contact with other
potential advisors – banks, IFA’s, accountants but
find them unable/unwilling to help.
Select other individuals who have the facility to
enter into a Protected Trust Deed.
USAGE “How will customers use our
The service will act as the final safety net for
those with serious financial difficulties.
The customers will be able to access the brand
in the manner they choose – through the web
and/or telephone talking direct to a
COMPETITIVE “Who are our key competitors?” Debt Companies – Chiltern, Spectrum, Debt
Solutions, Ocean Finance etc.
PRODUCTS CAB and charitable organisations – such as the
National Debt Helpline.
BRAND “In a sentence what do we offer to
the customer that will motivate
Customers will use the brand because it is
approachable and caring and can be trusted for
PROMISE them to buy the service”
solid, independent, professional resolutions to
their debt problems.
BRAND “What are the key rational and
emotional traits associated with
RATIONAL – (the tangible reasons a customer
will use the brand)
SUPPORT the brand?”
Professional, understanding, experienced,
customer orientated, easy to interact with,
provide the right advice, quality, flexible,
reliable, responsive, proactive.
EMOTIONAL – (the intangible reasons)
Caring, solid, approachable, down to earth,
friendly, empathetic, trusted.
BRAND “Expressed as an individual –
what is the brand’s personality”
Experienced, mature and worldly wise. You
would trust their advice because they have a
PERSONALITY professional track record. They are straight
talking, approachable, listen well and are seen
as much as a friend as an advisor.
BRAND “What two words (a summation of
the brands emotional and rational
ESSENCE traits) sum up the brand?
The Newtomorrow brand name was chosen after careful consideration of the market and the
above hierarchy. Newtomorrow was chosen for four core reasons:
• It deliberately avoided the word debt – a word that is heavily loaded with negative connotations
• It reflected the core desire of the customers to have a better future.
• It reflects a trusted intention on the part of the brand.
• It allowed for future brand extensions – Newtomorrow Mortgages, Newtomorrow Debit Cards
The design was a simple analogy to a rising sun – a symbol that sat well with the target audience.
The colourways were bright and vibrant – suggesting a positive and proactive brand.
Introduced as an internal brand in late 2006 the brand was then tested in a small media campaign
in the Dundee area in early 2007 before undertaking a full roll out in January of 2008.
The Newtomorrow brand was derived from a process that months and the learning applied to the main launch – targeted for
stretched back to the flotation of the group. A full marketing plan January 2008.
for the company had been constructed in 2006 to accompany the
In addition to this activity a survey of existing customers was
flotation outlining the key ambitions for Invocas. To coincide with
undertaken to gain a fuller knowledge of how the existing Invocas
the flotation a full qualitative market research programme was
service and process was performing and to identify the key
instigated to garner key information on how the company could
motivation behind customers choosing the Invocas service.
best service customers and to identify the opportunity for
The key learning from this work was a simple but absolutely crucial
alternatives to the traditional ‘work provider’ route. This research
led to the creation of the Newtomorrow brand with an initial piece of insight. In a world where debt was growing, competitors
strategy of targeting a wider range of ‘work providers’. were multiplying and the reputation of the sector was falling – the
Following this activity it became clear that there was a greater key success factor was the level of trust that customers attributed
need for direct to consumer activity in light of the decline in to a brand. With such a crowded market it was essential that
‘business to business’ activity and a test market was set up in the Invocas could take the internal values of ‘doing the right thing by
Dundee area to trial the brand, the back end operational the customer’ and communicate this in a simple forthright manner.
mechanics and a media campaign. This trial concluded after three If Invocas could do this well – they thought they could win.
The single most innovative strand to the marketing of To achieve our desired goals Invocas examined the
Newtomorrow has been the ability to identify, in a market awash communication strategies of the UK’s leading debt solution
with competitors, a single minded and motivating message that companies and concluded that TV was by far the most impactful
could cut through to the customer. manner to talk to our target audience. As a result becoming the
That message had to imbue the brand with a believable set of first Scottish based debt solutions company to use TV.
values that engendered trust and encouraged a direct response to
Red Cell (now Petrus Creative) and Circuit Break working with two
of Scotland’s leading advertising personnel created a campaign with
a simple but effective message – ‘Debt solutions for the real world’.
Blythe Duff (of Taggart fame) was selected as the brand spokes
person – chosen for her perceived level of trust and empathy with
the target audience. The construct of the ad was simple. Blythe
appearing at the outset as if in a drama – the director shouts cut and
Blythe walks across the set comparing the drama you see in TV with
the real drama of a life of debt.
Working directly with stv and in tandem with a media planning
agency a core media strategy was identified that maximised the
launch but also (through heavy use of daytime) gave the campaign
Backed up by targeted press placed to sit within the various debt
pages that already exist in both The Sun and the Daily Record – the
campaign drove people to a phone number or a web site that
allowed for live chat, an on line debt test and provided key
information that the customer needs to know.
In addition the BIG Partnership were recruited to add a PR angle to
the activity. This PR activity has culminated in the creation of the
Newtomorrow Quarterly survey. This survey measures the ‘health’ of
the Scottish debt market by interviewing over a thousand individuals
on a quarterly basis and provides an ideal vehicle for gaining PR
The co-ordinated campaign has given Invocas unprecedented returns
on investment in an extremely short time period.
In late 2008 the brand further expanded its reach by launching
Newtomorrow Broker Services (NTBS). This business has been set
up to directly target the UK’s Independent Financial Advisors and
Mortgage Brokers giving them a dedicated web and call centre
service backed up by Business Development Managers that can
assess their client’s debt issues and supply advice and solutions.
NTBS is a first within the UK financial services market.
Since the launch of Newtomorrow the company has provided for Newtomorrow has now provided debt advice for over 8,000
over £157 million worth of unsecured debt and over £273 million customers.
of secured debt.
The company is now the number one provider of Trust Deeds in
In 2007 less than 32% of the company’s business came direct
Scotland (third quarter 2008) and is now in the top thirty of
from the consumer. By the end of 2008 this has risen to over 77%
Individual Voluntary Agreement providers in England and Wales
– demonstrating a dramatic level of success in attracting
consumers direct to the brand. (Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) are an analogy to a Trust
Although the company has a core competence in supplying Trust Deed in England and Wales).
Deeds the success of Newtomorrow and the requirement to In addition Newtomorrow has now launched Newtomorrow
exactly match the solution to the customer’s situation has led to Broker Services taking the Newtomorrow brand to Independent
the company supplying a range of financial solutions.
Financial Advisors and Mortgage Brokers. Launched in November
As such in the six months to September 2008 Invocas won 22%
2008 tomorrow Broker has already signed up 3,300 registered members.
more work than the corresponding period in 2007 (£2.75m v
The overall transition from a business to business dominated
model to one that now incorporates a model dominated by
Despite a decline in ‘business to business’ referrals the total
caseload of formal insolvency cases undertaken by the business business to consumer is testament to a marketing strategy that
has grown from 5,142 in 2007 to 5,814 by September 2008. has been both highly impactful and highly successful.