Responsible marketing policy statement
As the UK’s largest building society, we’ve a responsibility to offer products and services that not only meet the needs of our members and deliver fair outcomes, but also support broader social and environmental issues. A big part of how we offer our products and services responsibly, is how we talk about them.
We’re committed to providing our members with the right information at the right time and in the right way to help them understand their finances and make informed decisions. Our standalone marketing and communications policy commits us to responsible practices, by communicating in a clear and fair way that does not mislead our members.
Read more on how we design and deliver responsible products and services here.
What's on this page
Our communication and content
We understand that everyone is different, with a wide range of needs and preferences. This includes how they access information. We offer our members a range of ways to get the information they need, in an easy-to-understand way.
Our internal framework of policies, tools and controls help our colleagues to write and approve communications and content. This includes everything from traditional media like printed letters, to anything digital like emails and our website. The controlled way we produce this content gives us opportunities to consider some important points, such as:
When creating our marketing materials and other communications, guidance is available to ensure they’re not overly complicated or confusing. We also want to make sure it will not mislead a customer into making a decision that isn’t right for them.
We need to balance giving detailed, factual information on our products while being easy-to-understand for a range of literacy and numeracy abilities. We have a team dedicated to researching the best ways to do this. They also provide training and create guidance documents. We consider many factors, including things such as the easiest-to-read colours, font sizes and placement of words. We also have a commitment to never hide key information in small print.
Accessibility, vulnerability and inclusion
We make sure that member vulnerability is always a focus. We have a standard of principles to make sure we consider the different needs of our members and how we can make communications and content work in different formats, such as braille, large print or audio. This is integrated during our creative process, to ensure we don’t inadvertently disadvantage certain groups of members.
And when a customer tells us they need communications in different formats, we follow documented processes to best meet those needs.
All colleagues engaged in communications undertake formal training to equip them with the right skills and knowledge to support our members. Competency and understanding are thoroughly tested before colleagues are permitted to use our communication systems. This level of skill is kept up to date with regular training refreshers. And we quality check a percentage of our communication processes to confirm they’re being followed correctly.
These are the communications that we must, either by law or regulation, send to our members at a certain point in time. This may be because of factors such as a change in the Bank of England Base Rate, which would make a change in their mortgage payment. We’ve documented processes in place to identify when communications are mandatory, as well as to check they have been created and sent at the correct times. These processes are regularly tested to make sure they’re working to an acceptable standard.
Throughout all phases of the communication journey, various risk assessments and testing take place. Results are reported and monitored to make sure we understand and address any themes or weaknesses we find.
About our approvals process
Approval processes for new or changed communications and content are clearly documented. They also don’t take place in isolation, but rather through review cycles, and by at least one other employee who has the knowledge and authority to approve. If the message is complicated or mandatory, it has to be reviewed by more than one person, as standard.
Some of our essential reviews, such as those involving financial promotions, are only undertaken by accredited individuals. We also have systems in place to minimise the risk of communications being shared with members without the proper steps taking place.
How we monitor distribution and data
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of what we do and underpins everything about the communication journey. To support this, we measure and monitor how satisfied our members are with the communications they get from us. We have a range of ways to measure whether they’ve received the information they need, whether they’ve understood the message and whether they were able to make decisions that led to fair outcomes. One of the ways we do this is through our specific Outcomes Testing Team, who look at randomly-selected cases across all our key processes to make sure they’ve been done correctly, and the member received a fair outcome.
Other relevant information
Our responsible products and services policy guides the production and distribution of all marketing materials and communications. Owned by our Director of Marketing, this policy is overseen and approved by internal committees, attended by Senior Managers and experienced risk professionals, from across Nationwide. We also engage with external stakeholders and initiatives to share best practice, expertise, and ways of improving marketing and communications for the financial services industry as a whole.