Bringing functional documents up to brand standards

07/09/2017 By Mark Long
Research Problem

Every building society is obliged to issue new savers/investors with the terms and conditions of their agreement following the purchase of a new product. The GICs document, as it’s known, is a functional booklet, describing in reasonably formal language, the obligations for both the customer and the Society. Following a significant brand review, our client wanted to refresh the GICs completely and bring them in to line with the Society’s simple and transparent positioning.


Three focus groups were convened at which both the current and, importantly, new GICs booklet design were evaluated. Two groups were with existing members, and the third was with non-customers from the target market. A detailed assessment of the new booklet took place in each session and comparisons were drawn where appropriate with the current booklet. The opportunity was taken to research different covers, image sets etc. across the groups. As the document was quite lengthy, respondents were paired up to review individual sections of the document rather than the entire content.


We were able to provide highly targeted and specific feedback to the Society on all key elements of the new GICs document. Our report included recommendations around:

  • The potential of a transparent document cover
  • The inclusion and content of imagery throughout the booklet – which did polarise views in different age categories
  • Elements of language used in the document which created doubts/uncertainty

Following this research and the findings of colleague research undertaken by the Society’s insight team immediately prior to this project, they will be developing and publishing a new GICs document, currently awaiting endorsement from the Fairer Finance organisation.

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