HSBC’s First Direct Has a Little Black Book

First Direct, the online bank birthed from HSBC, is launching a new online review site in the U.K call Little Black Book. Customers who use the site will be invited to share tips on topics such as day trip ideas and favorite restaurants, and will be able to find recommendations by searching via postal codes. Map to locations for reviewed businesses are streamed in from Google Maps.

The site was launched exclusively to 20,000 of First Direct’s most digitally active customers before being made available to all the bank’s online customers. You must be a First Direct customer to access the reviews.

The idea to launch a review site stemmed from the fact that a third of First Bank’s customers are recommended by other customers. Jenny Southwell, head of e-marketing at First Direct said, “The ‘Little Black Book’ idea is based on our customers’ high propensity to recommend us to their friends.”

First Direct hired digital agency MadeByPi for the project, who was given the directive to “create an iconic site that would strengthen brand loyalty through pioneering online innovation,” according to Southwell.

The CEO at Mailtrack, an email marketing company hired for the project, predicted that Little Black Book was bound to become “one of the leading branded community-based websites around.”


Who are the authors of these reviews? Are the authors ever identified, or are all reviews anonymous? If there are no profiles and user pages to view, and if all the reviews are anonymous, the site will never bloom into the “community” Mailtrack predicted. People want to know who is behind each review, and perhaps read more reviews from the same user(s).

To support the launch of Little Black Book, First Direct is using ads in lifestyle magazines and national newspapers, along with some online banner ads.

This email marketing piece was shared via MAPA (click to enlarge):

(09/22/2021 Editor’s Note: It appears that the page for First Direct’s Little Black Book has since been shut down.}

This article was originally published on . All content © 2024 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.