UniCredit Bank Romania designed a shared value program to address a business opportunity – create an asset for brand differentiation, corporate reputation& economic value. A platform supporting one of Europe’s fastest growing – but also one of Romania’s most undervalued sectors – the Cultural and Creative Industries.
Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) are one of the most dynamic segments of EU’s economy. In the UK alone, they represent 5% of the economy, employ more than 2 mil.& contribute £87bn to the gross value added (UK Industrial Strategy White Paper 2017). In Romania, they remain a Cinderella of local economy, lacking state and private sector support alike. Supporting a developing area of economy is a matter of ensuring the sustainability of banking products and also of preparing creative businesses in order to receive financial/banking support.
Thus, in 2017, UniCredit took the leap and decided start a shared value platform, both a support for developing creative business in Romanian society and a corporate reputation asset with link to brand differentiation that could also create new business opportunities for the company. We decided to position UniCredit as the daring challenger of the Romanian banking system: THE BANK FOR CREATIVE MINDS. We launched the biggest platform in Romania to support creative businesses and offer empowerment for creatives in a 5-step approach – 1. Awareness/ show don’t tell 2. Capacity building 3. Product development – Customized product 4. Generating sales leads 5. Scaling up.
First, we gathered stories worth sharing – through the online platform. Then, we designed a multi-stakeholder mentorship program, where high profile professionals shared their REAL LIFE/NO TEXTBOOK insights in an alternative school – The Academy of Creative Minds. We put a strong focus on internal stakeholder engagement: 14 high profile professionals joining the one-week mentorship program (among them, 5 members of the bank’s board& 10 other successful entrepreneurs or corporate professionals).
We brought our business assets even closer to the needs of this industry. We developed the Creative Pack, a banking product designed for creative industries – a first for the Romanian market! We also created a market for the creative businesses of Bucharest through a one-day event (29th of November) – Creative Wednesday– encouraging people to #buycreative In 2018, we expanded the Academy towards Romania’s most creative cities: Timisoara & Cluj-Napoca, we separated classes in start-up& scale-up groups, to better cater to specific needs.
We sparked conversation and positioned UniCredit as the #BankofCreativeMinds. Our platform generated 80 million opportunities to see among an estimated cumulated audience of 9 million. We engaged over 20 mentors representing most of the bank’s retail departments. 200 creative minds took part in the first 4 editions of the Academy – 125% KPIs. +80% of them rated the experience as useful for the development of their business. 150 entrepreneurs (250% KPI) engaged with potential clients on Creative Wednesday. The result? A new and improved storytelling-enhanced shopping experience for the inhabitants of Bucharest. And a statement event, comprising 150 happenings, showcasing the spark of creative businesses. The bank also created a business opportunity, while helping creative entrepreneurs build& expand their businesses – in just one year after the launch, the Creative Pack amounted for almost 50% of the total packages sold. By Q3, 2017 market share grew from 8.3% to 8.9%, making UniCredit Bank the 4th bank in Romania in terms of actives’ volume.
Our support for creative minds goes on with new editions of the projects.