As a bank, First Direct had always prided itself on doing things differently. The trouble was, competitors were getting wise, and First Direct's point of diff erence was starting to disappear. To prove First Direct still 'had it', it chose to recruit new customers in an original way.

By letting existing customers do the talking - good or bad the bank was able to present an unfl inchingly accurate and credible picture of itself. To start the ball rolling, Mindshare UK mined forums, blogs, comment threads and social networks for real-time data on what customers were saying, both positive and negative.

Once it had the comments, it broadcast them unedited on a campaign website to create an impression of transparency. In addition, the results were used to create ever-changing 'real-time maps' of consumer attitudes. These 'visual representations' were shareable as widgets on social networks and used to create live digital advertising on the London Underground.

When it came to being diff erent, First Direct clearly was. The campaign increased brand diff erentiation by 10%. Response rates increased by a staggering 240%. And current account consideration rose by 7%.