Winners & Shortlists


Entrant Company HSBC London, UNITED KINGDOM
Advertising Agency HSBC London, UNITED KINGDOM
Name Company Position
Pierre Goad HSBC Global Head Of Communications
Jenny Varley HSBC Managing Editor
Toby Low Merchantcantos Partner
Nat Low Merchantcantos Senior Producer
Tom Fredericks Merchantcantos Senior Producer
Dee Gosney HSBC Producer
Marcus Dubois HSBC Producer
Samantha Feeney HSBC Producer
Lucie Mcinerney HSBC Producer
Charlie Marks HSBC Producer
Cecilia Tornaghi HSBC Latin Americas Editor
Louise Sinnerton HSBC Assistant Producer
Samantha Dooey/Miles Merchantcantos Producer
Andy Duckworth Merchantcantos Producer
Kela Kay Merchantcantos Production Assistant
George Kenwright Merchantcantos Production Runner

The Campaign

“It’s pretty remarkable that HSBC was prepared to hire someone into a senior role who six months beforehand had been in a psychiatric hospital”. Brian Heyworth is a senior executive at HSBC and he is doing something extraordinary. Today he’s sharing his personal story of mental illness with 250,000 colleagues via the bank’s web-TV channel HSBC NOW. It takes enormous courage for someone to admit to depression and a brave and confident organisation to share the story. HSBC NOW has had over 2 million views since it launched internally in 2012. It transformed the way people talked to each other at HSBC. The 'boss-free' content abandoned corporate spin, a multi-layered approval process and let employees do the talking. The stories feel exactly as they are; real, unscripted and unfiltered, celebrating employees’ everyday successes inside and outside the office. Within 12 months, episodes were reaching over 100,000 views and employees increasingly asked stories to be broadcast outside of HSBC’s intranet. Over 70% of regular viewers wanted to watch HSBC NOW away from their desk and share their tales of bravery and triumphs with family and friends. That’s why HSBC launched where nearly 150,000 minutes of content has been watched across 160 countries. Brian’s story reached 60,000 views within days and spurred the demand to share HSBC’s stories externally. 95% of Twitter comments about HSBC NOW are positive and followers’ conversations between colleagues continue to grow. This is positive proof that authentic content is a powerful catalyst for interaction and engagement.

The Brief

Establish a new brand voice within the banking sector free of top-down influence and corporate jargon Build engagement with HSBC NOW, the bank’s internal web-channel, by enabling employees to tune in how and when they want and open access to the 20% employees who couldn’t yet view Improve understanding of HSBC’s role and purpose in society for employees and build trust in the brand with external stakeholders focused on HSBC’s corporate behaviour through real stories Keep existing talent and attract even more by showing the scale of career opportunities and the positive aspects and rewards of working for HSBC


Achieved only through organic growth, selected web metrics have been used to track and measure the emotional impact of HSBC NOW; - 2m+ views internally and externally since inception in 2012 - 149,776 minutes watched on YouTube - 13m+ impressions on LinkedIn and Twitter - 7,914 interactions on LinkedIn - 166 countries have viewed since YouTube launch Previous internal videos received an average of 3,000 views, whereas 10% of employees (26,000) regularly view HSBC NOW. A recent survey reveals the full impact of programming on employee engagement: - 75% of employees confirmed that HSBC NOW gives them a stronger understanding of business priorities compared with 60% in 2012 - 15% uplift in employees feeling part of one global community HSBC NOW has received 95% positive mentions on Twitter and had a positive business impact: - 17% increase in LinkedIn followers during launch month (November 2013) - record increase (36%) in response rates to LinkedIn InMails


HSBC NOW’s presence on social media began with a soft launch in November 2013; there was no paid-for marketing activity or loud internal poster campaign. Momentum was organic and relied on word of mouth. Stories were published externally while simultaneously moving to a weekly format internally to meet audience demand for more content. The most popular stories from past episodes were published on YouTube daily for two weeks to build a rich library of content that allowed playlists such as ‘role models’, ‘courageous’, ‘inspiring’, ‘adventure’ and ‘sport’ to be created. A schedule to view approach is followed, with 3-4 internal programme segments published concurrently on YouTube on a weekly basis to allow employees to share their stories immediately. Headline grabbing story quotes are tweeted throughout the week, as well as story teasers. HSBC’s corporate LinkedIn page is used as one of the main promotional channels for HSBC NOW content.

The Situation

Three things influenced HSBC NOW’s move to social media; banking culture continued to remain under scrutiny; HSBC’s geographical silos continued to create barriers and 20% of employees could not yet access the programme due to internal network issues. Surveys had proved that HSBC NOW was having an impact with 74% of viewers feeling part of a global community after watching the programme. With each episode reaching an average of 47,000 unique views by August 2013, the pressure was on for the programme to help support HSBC’s ‘speak-up’ culture and put a human face behind the brand.

The Strategy

Launch to allow content to reach as broad an audience as possible and be shared more widely, principally among friends and family, and potentially further afield Support the channel with a dedicated Twitter feed ( to amplify messaging and stories to be circulated easily Promote the content via to enable employees and external audiences to talk openly around a virtual water cooler Let employees share stories because they want to not because they feel they have to by covering hotly debated topics such as pressures of full time working parents, mental illness, matters of the heart as well as diversity and inclusion Retain journalistic discipline and integrity at the heart of HSBC NOW’s external agenda, free of corporate sensor. Ensure content remains independent of leadership jargon while still reflecting the business culture and values to set it apart from any other social media presence from the financial sector