The Budgetizer: Helping employees manage money

A weekly or monthly pay check is the main source of money for most of us and is when support is needed most. Tools play an important role in helping improve financial literacy – One-in-three adults cannot work out the correct change from a shopping trip.*

Creating a budget is always a good first step in taking control of money. ‘The Budgetizer’ is a new type of online planner that is both engaging and useful. It is designed specifically for organisations by connecting with reward and benefit programmes to maximise their take up and value.

Income and spending is broken down into bite-size chunks to help employees plan for the future. They can also compare their budget with ‘people like me’ to see if they’re spending more or less than others. Peer comparison is proven to make a major impact in effecting change in behaviours.

A surplus can direct employees to company saving and pension plans, with debt support and counselling if there’s a significant deficit, heading off future financial issues.

Benefits for organisations:

• Supports your employees as money is the biggest form of stress at work
• Designed for employees, connecting to your reward, benefit and pension programs
• Helps to deliver on your financial wellbeing strategy
• Bespoke dashboard for real-time analytics
• Affordable licence including regular content updates
• Hosted remotely so simple to integrate with existing platforms through APIs
• GDPR compliant
• Can be adapted to reflect your company brand

Benefits for your employees:

• Introduces the basics of budgeting, putting them in control of finances
• Personalised guidance with achievable tips on what to do next
• Visual, engaging and easy to use
• Reflects the digital experiences they are used to outside of work
• Fully functioning on any device, anywhere and at any time
• Compare with ‘people like me’ through Office for National Statistics data
• Ability to save, download and share the results
• Secure and private

For further information, contact Ryan.

*UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and University of Cambridge

What pensions can learn from technology: Introducing the ‘Quick Start Guide’

Pensions Aspects is the Pensions Management Institute monthly magazine that provides technical advice from professionals working in pensions, as well as expert insight from a wide variety of specialists in the industry to over 6,500 members in 32 countries. This month, it was our Creative Director, Ryan Sales, that provided some keen advice to pensions schemes and the top five trends to transform their member communications. This is a copy of the article that featured in January’s issue:

Amazon, for me at least, got it right this year. They started early with teases for this year’s Black Friday Sale, which actually ended up being Black Friday (week). And Cyber Monday (week) as well.

They were particularly clever in that they offered discounts for things that were already on my wish list. In the end I did most of my Christmas shopping within that fortnight, including a new 55-inch TV to make the most of Christmas.

Technology, by its very nature, is complicated. I bought my TV based on my personal needs. In this, case size was everything. Most of the other fantastical marketing terms were lost on me, what exactly is ‘Fluid Frame Restoration’ anyway? Maybe I need it, maybe I don’t. I actually have no idea.

Putting that aside for a moment, what particularly stood out for me during my unboxing, having been a while since I bought a new TV, was the two booklets that came inside the box. The first, a six-page ‘quick start guide’, the second, a larger detailed guide for when I need to dig deeper and get in to HDMI Arc, Optical and Coaxial connectors, for example.



The quick start guide was a beautiful piece of on-boarding design, featuring very simple, numbered steps, well written descriptions and clear illustrated pictures to help me get going. It showed me how to get my satellite dish connected, my FreeSat channels tuned in, setup a WiFi connection and install BBC iPlayer. All-in-all, I was all setup in the time it took to drink a latte.

And that’s all it did. It didn’t try to overload me with more detail than I needed to get going. It was goal orientated, the sole purpose being a 10-minute setup, allowing me to sit down and watch something and feel good about my decision to purchase.

The larger, more detailed guide can go on the coffee table for now until I’m ready to know more and dig deeper, such as connecting a soundbar or troubleshoot.

This got me thinking, is there something we could learn from this experience when communicating pensions to members?

A traditional pensions on-boarding experience is to send new members a letter, a bunch of forms and a detailed member guide (and sometimes an investment guide as well). I’ve heard members call this approach “overwhelming” and “disengaging”. Comparing it to my TV on-boarding, if I’d have gotten that experience I would have either given up before I’d undone the cable ties, or I’d have just fumbled around blindly until I’d gotten where I’d needed to be, whether I’d done it the right way or not.

So, what could a quick start guide to pensions look like?

I’d suggest not too dissimilar to the TV version. It would be;

  • practical, telling me only what I need to know to get started – not everything all at once
  • short, to the point and not overwhelming – completeable in under 15 minutes
  • visual, with clear diagrams to make it easy to understand
  • handy, so I can leave it around on the first few weeks just in case I need to refer back to it
  • self-evident, so once it’s used the first time, it’s not needed again as it has done its job

This can be supplemented with the longer member guide for when the member needs to understand more of the workings, such as the Annual Allowance or their Pensions Input Period. Honestly, for many members, some of the inner workings may never actually be relevant. Not all of us have to worry about hitting the AA or the LTA, many are happy with the default investment fund and would never look at the investment guide either, but at least it’s there if they change their mind later on, similar to exploring some of the ‘smart’ features on my TV.

But even many member guides need work

The basics of pensions are confusing for people and often impenetrable. In the FCA’s twelfth data bulletin, released in March of 2018, their research showed eight in ten people with a defined contribution pension said they’d not given much thought to how much they should be paying into it for a reasonable standard of living in retirement.

In the PLSA’s ‘Hitting the Target’ report last year, they quoted the Joseph Rowntree Foundations (JRF) Minimum Income Standard of £9,998 a year for a single retiree, and the Pension Commission’s Target Replacement Rate (TRR) of 67% of current earnings. These are figures that we should be putting front and centre for members.

But the problem goes further than just knowing ‘How much is enough’. The FCA say a quarter of members don’t really understand the retirement options available to them and six in ten find the options around annuities confusing. Sadly, of those who retired in 2017 choosing an annuity, almost two-thirds could have had a higher income if they’d mentioned health issues like high blood pressure or being a smoker. Much of this is because the basics of good communications are not always adhered to. The Good Communications Guide ( is a great free resource that recognises the importance of clear messaging, creativity and tone of voice to member engagement.

But unfortunately pension communications are often unrelatable. They talk about saving for life after work and putting away “enough money”. That in itself is such a nebulous thing to get your head around, especially if you’re in your 30s or 40s with decades to go until ‘after work’ becomes a reality.

So again we come back to the need of the member and how the ‘product’ (the pension) meets that need. Why do I want a decent amount of money in retirement? Well, I know that I want to still be able to go on holiday to somewhere warm in the winter, I want to be able to run a car, spoil my grandchildren and go out for pub lunches. I’ll need money for all of that.

Oh… and at some point, I’ll need a new telly too!

Landscape launch the first of eight animations to support financial wellbeing in the workplace

Landscape have produced eight rules for looking after money as a series of short and shareable animations. ‘Money Zingers’ offer simple advice to help employees understand the basics of finance.

They will be gradually launched over the coming weeks but here’s a sneak peak of the first ‘Get a saving habit’.

Money is the main form of stress in the workplace. It’s a significant challenge for organisations yet 59% are not doing anything to tackle financial wellbeing1. We know happy employees create happier workplaces which in turn has positive effects on business growth.

Money Zingers is inspired by US Social Scientist Harold Pollack’s claim that all you need to know about money can fit on an index card.  Unfortunately many people still grow up in an environment where they aren’t taught about the value of money. How many employees actually understand their payslip? What their tax code means? Or how their bonus or pension is calculated?

As experts in financial education, Landscape reinterpreted Pollack’s tips and have used a contemporary style and language to attract a new generation of employees desperate for support. The opportunity is for communicators to empower employees, build confidence and put their welfare at the heart of the business strategy.

Keep an eye out for the other animations in the series. And please drop us a line with any feedback!

1.  (Source: Reward – Wellbeing in the Workplace 2018)

Support us supporting Action for Children

There are some 83,000 young people who are homeless in the UK every year through no fault of their own. Family breakdown, mental health issues and abuse in the home are just a few of the causes which lead to many young people becoming homeless.

Action for Children is one of the UK’s leading children’s charities and have been supporting disadvantaged children for almost 150 years. Byte Night is one of its major events where people sleep rough for one night to raise awareness of the challenges young people face, and raise vital funds. One in four homeless young people (27%) have been diagnosed with mental health problems.

This year it’s being held on October 5th and Johnathon and Ryan will be sleeping on the streets of London. This cause means a lot to us so please support by making a donation on our JustGiving page. It’s really appreciated, but will mean so much more to those who do not have the luxury of a roof over their head. Just £5 would make a huge difference.

Contact Centre Campaign for Equatex

We’re proud to have just completed a campaign for Equatex who are experts in managing compensation plans for global businesses. It helps businesses recruit, engage and retain people by managing successful incentive schemes.

We helped Equatex with the launch of the new and improved contact centre, positioning it as a core service offering and a major engagement channel for the business. It fields more than 20,000 calls from clients’ employees every month and over the last year, they have invested significantly in new state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure for the contact centre. They now provide the best customer support available for their sector.

We helped them create a multi-channel campaign strategy with a new proposition, key messaging and campaign assets that has been implemented across much of Equatex’s new marketing collateral. Their brand is very illustrative and that feeds into one of our loves – a great partnership!

Five trends that will transform the way pension schemes communicate

Pensions Aspects is the Pensions Management Institute monthly magazine that provides technical advice from professionals working in pensions, as well as expert insight from a wide variety of specialists in the industry to over 6,500 members in 32 countries. This month, it was our Creative Director, Ryan Sales, that provided some keen advice to pensions schemes and the top five trends to transform their member communications. This is a copy of the article that featured in September’s issue:

Pensions communications have never been as important as they are now. The decline of final salary schemes and low auto-enrolment contribution rates has created a huge cohort of people who may not have enough money to retire. The pressure is now on to get people saving, against a backdrop of stagnant wages and increases in the cost of living. And that’s without even mentioning the thorny issue of how to help people navigate the baffling at-retirement landscape.

To put it bluntly, the pensions industry has an enormous challenge ahead. Fortunately, there is some good news. Whilst the challenge may be immense, the evolution of communications through new technologies, behavioural economics and financial wellness means it can be overcome. Here are five trends that will transform the way you communicate with members.

1 – Segmentation and personalisation

Segmentation has been around for a while now, but the pensions industry lags when it comes to using it to better engage members.

In a nutshell, segmentation is when you divide your audience up to deliver key messages that resonate with a specific set of people.

At its most basic, this could mean dividing members up by age, or how far they are from retirement. That way, you can deliver different messages to someone just starting their career than you would to someone nearing retirement.

However, other data can allow you to target people more specifically. For instance, you could use contributions data to target those people still saving the minimum, or get HR to deliver specific pensions messages for women about to go on maternity leave.

2 – Multi-channel approachesruleof7

Far too often we hear about pensions communications being delivered primarily through snail mail. Letters have their place and shouldn’t be abandoned entirely, but for a lot of people they just end up in the dustbin.

Back in the day, movie moguls used to have a ‘law of seven’, which posited a potential punter would have to see a poster seven times before they’d go to the cinema.

A similar approach works well for pensions communications.

3 – Gamification and animation

Sometime pensions professionals can be wary
of things like animation and gamification, viewing them
as far too frivolous for the serious business that is pensions. But to most of your audience, the way we discuss pensions is utterly baffling. The jargon is impenetrable and the issues are complex. So many people think visually, and animations can make complex concepts simple and easy to understand. Gamification is another great way for pension schemes to help members overcome the savings paralysis.

You could consider adding game-like elements to otherwise tedious tasks to encourage participation, or allowing savers to learn about saving through fun game-like processes. Understanding how employees engage with online tools and getting feedback from members about what they like and don’t like will become an integral part of the process of making sure people have a positive savings journey.


4 – Behavioural psychology

One of the problems with getting people to save for retirement is that there are several behavioural biases getting in the way.

For instance, behavioural psychology shows that it is very hard for people to save for the longterm, because they find it very difficult choosing gratification in the future over gratification now.

Similarly, we really struggle
to compare two things that
are not alike. So it’s very easy for me to choose between buying a coffee and buying a magazine, but really hard for me to equate giving up a coffee every week, with putting those savings towards a comfortable retirement. The lessons
learned in this emerging field can help us find new ways to communicate with people. For instance, illustrating retirement with pictures of grey-haired smiling people simply won’t resonate with Generation Y or Z.

Tricks such as nudging (as demonstrated by auto- enrolment), offer an obvious solution to driving up contributions, whilst better marketing techniques, such as showing how an employee is doing compared to their peers, can all make pensions savings more real and more relevant.



5 – Financial wellbeing

Once a relatively uncommon term, financial wellbeing 
has grown in importance as companies look to help their employees better manage their money. And it’s a concept the pensions industry would do well to take on board. After all, it’s all well and good telling someone they should save more, but if they’re struggling to pay the rent you’re just going to seem out of touch and unrealistic.

HR can play a role here. For instance, imagine if you could add up how much someone has saved through other voluntary benefits and offer to put that into their pension?

The retail world has made great strides in this area. There are easy to use apps that allow
you to round up your day-to- day spending (on coffees for instance), and put the change into a stocks and shares ISA. Initiatives like this which make it easy to save without even noticing, overcome lots of the behavioural barriers faced by pensions. At Landscape, we put much of this into action when we helped the Bank of England with their pension communication strategy.


How do you analyse and improve a benefits or pensions portal?

The first step in analysing any benefits or pensions portal, is setting out a clear set of measurements to take, linked to criteria that will tell you whether you website is a success or not.

These criteria should not be limited to the standard measures of website success such as traffic, page-time and bounce-rate. You should monitor data-points that align with your company’s goals, not just for the website, but for your benefits or pensions offering in general.

So, to get started, create a wishlist of data points to measure. It helps if you asking yourself questions to prompt a general direction, such as:

  • What percentage of your employee base have only contributed at the minimum level?
  • How often and when do members call the helpline or use online tools?
  • What times of day does the website see most traffic, and does this impact when you send out updates?

From there, it’s about setting in place the processes to track all of the data needed to answer these questions, whether its:

  • Built-in or Google analytics
  • Bespoke analytics captures
  • Weekly Stat Captures
  • Surveys
  • And more…

But it’s not enough to just capture the data – it needs to be interrogated and understood, and it needs to be turned into an action plan for improvement within your organization.

  • Set weekly/monthly/ quarterly action plan meetings to review the data you capture and dissect what it is saying about your employee base.
  • Does an increase in traffic suggest that the awareness of the site is increasing across your organization?
  • Has there been an uptake in people making contribution choices other than the default since your revamped the layout of the pensions page on the site?
  • What segments or member profiles are more engaged than others and why?

Importantly, you need to then link the findings from these sessions to plans for upcoming communications, helping you to target your employee segments, with their particular needs, and behaviours.

So how do you take that information and insight gained and improve engagement across your organization? Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet that gets to the heart of the problem. What’s needed is a mixed approach, sustained effort and the aggregation of marginal gains in as many parts of a communication programme as possible.

That said, there are definite steps that can be taken to encourage plan members to access online communications, and ways in which to keep them coming, and keep them engaged.

1. Great offline communication
The first step to getting people online is signposting them there with great offline communications. Whether it’s postcards or brochures, email banners or QR codes and a segmented email campaign ensuring you have regular and consistent calls to action to get online across all of your offline communications is key to building momentum and engagement. Marketing theories talk about a ‘rule of seven’, meaning a message needs to be seen seven times for it to be effective.

2. Accessibility
Making sure that your online communications are accessible, not just in terms of device or filetype, but with design and format, is important for gaining an employee’s attention. Our research shows that members are more likely to engage on personal devices, particularly between 8pm and 10pm in the evening. They will also engage for longer, with tablet users accessing content for 3x longer than on any other device.

3. Rich media
Taking advantage of the varied media types available on any online platform, and communicating with your audience in multiple ways, be it through personalised animation, apps, online tools and modellers, even games, is a surefire way to encourage plan members to engage with your content.

4. Involvement in the process
Personalisation is an important part of any communications programme, as it helps individuals feel uniquely tied to your organisation and the message you’re sending out. Allowing users to self-segment through a profiling questions helps them interact the online experience. Decision making tools and gamified learning all help engage your audience further than off-the-shelf and generic messaging.

5. Access to help/support
Access to help and online advice agents, even if automated in the form of robo-advice, as well as detailed and broad FAQ sections, will further convince your website’s audience of its use.

Welcome to Landscape Steph

Introducing… Steph, our new designer at Landscape!

Steph has recently joined the Landscape design team, having worked both as a full-time and a freelance designer on brands such as Burberry, Mothercare and Red Bull Media. After studying Illustration at university, she actually began her career working within the film & television industry, whilst at the same time achieving a graphic design masters degree. From here she has worked both in-house and agency side gaining experience in branding, packaging and advertising.

We have already given her an introduction to the social scene at Landscape, opting for the somewhat unusual evening activity of Curling. With the help of a few Jagermeisters we curled some ‘stones’, smashed some table tennis balls and got defeated by some giant Jenga.

Steph has already been working on a variety of different projects for us already, including the Bank of England, Civica and PQM, and she is looking forward to lots more to come here at Landscape.

Landscape at PLSA Annual Conference and Exhibition 2017

We had fun and games with the Pension Quality Mark in November. With our friends from PQM we invited conference attendees to fly over Paris like an eagle or find out more about the Good Communications Guide.

As you can imagine, after attending sessions most people were keen to have some virtual time out and chose to play with our virtual reality games – with no pensions content whatsoever.

You can hear more about the site from Matthew Doyle, Managing Director of Pension Quality Mark, here and we were really pleased to see Gregg McClymont, Chair of PQM who’s passionate about pensions and savings engagement. You can hear Greg’s support here.

The guide brings together ideas and approaches to help improve pension communications – there’s something here for you whether you are an employer, trustee or pension provider.







Landscape at Employee Benefits Live 2017

At Landscape, we love making the complex simple for your employees. That is what we did at stand 520 at Olympia London on 10 and 11 October.

We hope you enjoyed our ‘Keep Talking’ challenge! We at Landscape had lots of fun meeting you and having the chance to play a spot of table tennis at the same time.




Multi-coloured balls were pelting around the room with a few of you even coming back for a rematch. At times it got more competitive than it probably should have! Doug from The British Heart Foundation had a rally of 45 with all 5 blocks – that’s not to mention games against The Stig and at one point, an astronaut!



But we weren’t only there for ping-ping. We were also there to help you find out how to:

  • increase motivation
  • attract and retain talent
  • drive behaviours, and
  • improve performance

With all of the commotion and chatting we didn’t get much of a chance to show you some of our campaigns or digital tools – so whether you want to engage your employees in a new strategy, get them excited about reward and benefits or create an emotional connection with your employer brand have a look at our website and drop us a line at so we can send you all the information that you need.

Whether it’s an immediate tactical need, or a more strategic discussion for the long-term, we are sure we could bring something new to the table.


Landscape. Making the complex simple for your employees.

The Good Communications Guide

In partnership with Pension Quality Mark we’ve developed The Good Communications Guide which includes insights, tips and tools to improve pension communications and engagement. Contributors include Baroness Ros Altmann, former Minister for Pensions Sir Steve Webb, former Shadow Minister of Pensions Gregg McClymont, former NAPF Chairman Ruston Smith and pensions lawyer Helen Ball.

The guide covers important topics such as:

  • Running a Great Campaign
  • Strategy and Objectives
  • Understanding Your Audience
  • Pension Branding and Creativity
  • Language, Tone of Voice and Behavioural Economics
  • Communication Planning and Channels
  • Going Digital and Social
  • Measurement and Feedback
  • Budgeting

If you are a pension provider, HR professional, pension manager, consultant, finance professional, trustee or working in the pensions, financial services or financial wellbeing industries, this will be a valuable resource to help tackle the communications challenges you face.

We would love to hear your feedback about the website, please drop us a line!

Promoting Cystic Fibrosis Week

At Landscape, we believe every voice matters; we listen and learn, challenge and encourage, making a positive impact on the lives of people who read or engage in the communications we create.

That’s why we jumped at the chance to work with Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Once we heard their stories and understood more about their fight for ‘a life unlimited’, we wanted to help.

CF is a genetic condition affecting more than 10,000 people in the UK. The gene affected by CF controls the movement of salt and water in and out of cells. People with cystic fibrosis experience a build-up of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive system and other organs, causing a wide range of challenging symptoms affecting the entire body. The condition makes it difficult for people to breathe and causes susceptibility to infections.

June is an important month for CF trust. It’s the launch of their summer of fundraising for their community of supporters. So how did we help? Creativity is at our core and supporting CF with their campaign meant we could work on developing a series of characters to bring this year’s efforts to life in a straightforward and fun way.

We created a series of mascots that could then be used across all the collateral, including:

– A new downloadable fundraising pack – to help supporters get raising money quickly and easily

– A direct mail call to action pack – covering everything needed to run a fundraising event

– An interactive timeline to tell the CF story and raise awareness of the great work already done and the future challenges and priorities

– 101 Fundraising Ideas – a fun list of fundraising possibilities

– Posters and website banners

– Logos and doodles

We also got social ourselves – did you see our #yelfie pictures on Twitter and Instagram? Or maybe you downloaded the Facebook photo editor widget?

Like you, we want to achieve the best for everyone. If you want to help CF too, take a look at their website at