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Ipswich Building Society

A transparent plant pot full of coins with a plant growing out of it to illustrate Mackman Research's work with Ipswich Building Society

The Research Project

Ipswich Building Society were considering undergoing a brand realignment with the potential of a brand name change. This proposition was directed by the origins of the organisation, having once been known as the Ipswich and Suffolk Building Society. In addition, they suspected that their local name was created a barrier to future business, particularly amongst younger cohorts outside of Ipswich. 

The Results

The top level research findings presented a clear and concise perception of the brand, including:

  • The number of respondents exceeded the sample target of 384
  • Clear presentation of research findings 
  • Perceptions of Suffolk are more positive than those of Ipswich

The Client

Ipswich Building Society was founded in 1849. The building society is based in Ipswich with 13 branches in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk.  The building society helps members with mortgages and savings. The company’s mission is to continue “supporting people in our community to buy a home and save for the future, providing carefully crafted products and attentive service.” Ipswich Building Society is growing with the communities it provides services to. 

Brand Facts

  • Ipswich Building Society was founded in 1849. 
  • The company has 13 branches in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk. 
  • The building society’s mission is to support those in the community to save for the future and buy a home by providing carefully crafted products with an attentive service.

Research Aims

The main aims of the research were to assess the overall perception of the Ipswich Building Society brand. In particular the study aimed to gain further insight into perceptions of: 

  • Ipswich 
  • Suffolk 
  • Building societies (compared with banks)

The Research Challenge

"Our main challenge was to gather insight in face-to-face street poll conditions. Town centres in particular can be problematic fields due to researcher permissions (from centre owners). Added to this is the fact that often people are busy shopping or rushing during their lunch breaks. As always we aim to overcome common challenges with our personable and professional approach. And on this occasion we were helped by Ipswich Building Societies carefully chosen incentive - a packet of Fairfield Farm Crisps for each respondent."

Dr. Gemma Mackman, Research Director - Mackman Research

The Research Design & Methodology

On behalf of Ipswich Building Society, Mackman Research designed a survey to gain unbiased insight into the current perceptions held of Ipswich, Suffolk, and building societies.  The survey was designed with the aim of identifying the associations people have with Ipswich, Suffolk and building societies. Questions probed respondents about their affiliations with the two locations and what words the associate with each.  Members of staff and existing customers were contacted via email and asked to fill out the customer survey in their own time. Members of the public were approached by a Mackman researcher who interviewed individuals face-to-face in six key locations. 

"Ipswich Building Society have been fantastic clients to work with. On this project, Mackman researchers enjoyed getting into the field to gather insight from members of the public. The research findings have provided a clear conclusion and we hope that Ipswich Building Society have found the process useful for their decision-making."

Dr. Gemma Mackman, Research Director - Mackman Research

Research Outcomes

The results of 882 respondents were split between three groups; existing customers, staff members, and members of the public. There were additional splits by location and age for certain questions, as requested by the client. It was found that the majority of participants were more closely affiliated with Suffolk than Ipswich. Words associated with Ipswich were generally more negative than those associated with Suffolk.  The key findings were produced in a comprehensive report which delivered insight into the perceptions of respondents which will inform Ipswich Building Society’s potential rebrand. 

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