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[Case Study] How NS&I Streamlined Content Creation with Opal 

With more than a 150-year history, National Savings and Investments (NS&I) is a UK government-owned savings bank that serves two crucial purposes. Firstly, it provides its customers with a secure home for their savings. Second, it provides the UK Government with another way of raising the money needed to run the country. The content and marketing teams at NS&I work to create compelling content that attracts new customers and encourages existing customers to top up their savings.  

Industry: Financial Services 

By the Numbers

The Challenge: Rigorous Process & Generic Tools  

Like many communications teams, creating content is an essential strategy for NS&I. However, the highly regulated nature of advertising financial products meant their marketing needed to meet a rigorous standard before going to market. Every major piece of content – or promotion – required sign-off by up to three teams (Content, Brand, and Compliance) before it could go to market. Leveraging channels such as email, social, and long-form content, NS&I runs approximately 50 marketing campaigns per year, plus manages hundreds of individual pieces of service content – all requiring approval to strict deadlines. 

Prior to Opal, NS&I used a basic word-based approvals process. Without a purpose-built solution, the approval process was tedious, labor-intensive, and not suited to a growing catalog of digital content. 

The Solution: Flexible & Powerful Approval Workflows 

Flexible workflows were required, which were fit for purpose. By managing their approvals in Opal, the NS&I teams were able to improve visibility and ensure that the right approvers on each team – across functions – were alerted to the all-important content automatically.

“We operate in a regulated environment and our governance ensures that our communications are fair, clear, and not misleading. Deploying strong approvals through Opal means everyone knows who needs to be involved and when,” Lauren Wallis, Head of Data & Planning at NS&I, said.

The process begins with the content teams creating messaging and promotional materials in Opal. If content is produced in other systems, such as the company’s CMS, it can be simply uploaded as a web capture. As an added advantage, Opal offers true-to-life content mockups that ensure the reviews not only could evaluate the imagery and copy – but they could also see the content like their audience would.  

Gaining Efficiency through Stamps  

One of the main challenges was speeding up the content creation and approvals process when lots of content needed to be released to market very quickly.  For this, they discovered how Stamps (or templates) could enable them to accelerate the entire process. 

The Product team would begin by calling a planning meeting, and the team would kick off by using a Stamp. By leveraging one of these templates, they would be starting with an outline of pre-set campaign milestones and workflows already in place. This cut out a lot of the tedious set-up, allowing the team to focus on the actual strategy and content creation.

“By cutting down the manual repetitive work, we’re able to respond much faster. This is especially important when we need to respond to the market quickly,” Lauren said. “The teams appreciate it, too, because it’s made everything a lot more efficient and streamlined.” 

Repurposing Their Best Content

NS&I also use Opal to store evergreen content in our free-form Boards planning space. They are able to save it and prepare it for re-use when relevant. NS&I estimates that as of 2024, using Boards, they will be able to store and repurpose 25% of their content

“We need to be efficient with what we spend on copy and creative, and we don’t have huge content and marketing teams, so being able to reuse previously successful, evergreen content is key,” Lauren said. 

The Result: Faster to Market 

The combination of Opal’s Stamps and Workflows made the team dramatically faster – all while operationalizing their critical approval process.  

Prior to using Opal, NS&I had a turnaround time for content creation and approval that was approximately 2 weeks – now they can turn that around in days. By bringing Opal aboard to solve their challenges, the NS&I team got faster by streamlining their processes and maximizing the visibility and reuse of their content.

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