Flow Communications

Tuesday morning 26 May saw three men in bright yellow full-body hazmat suits cordoning off an area at the Standard Bank head office in downtown Johannesburg with black-and-yellow tape.

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Agent Smith and his team of investigators

The area, in the foyer of 5 Simmonds Street, was then minutely scanned under the guidance of a supervisor in dark glasses and a sombre black suit. Somewhat disconcerted staff members, flooding in to start their workday, were told by the agent in black not to be alarmed as the area was just being scanned to detect evidence of fraudulent activity.

All of this surprising action was part of a campaign that Flow put together to raise awareness internally for Standard Bank's FraudStop initiative.

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Intrigued staff waiting to find out more

Persuading staff to be part of the team that identifies, reports and prevents fraud was the brief that Standard Bank gave Flow. We also needed to raise awareness that fraud can hide around any corner and that it is everyone’s concern.

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The team of agents a.k.a the Men in Black

The concept for the campaign was to create a team of “agents” who were looking for new team members to help in the fight against fraud (with more than a tongue-in-cheek reference to Men in Black). The FraudStop team, led by “Agent Smith”, Johnny Robertson, were more than up to the task to get staff involved.

Says Janet Berger, senior project manager at Flow: “It's not often that we go from concept to implementation with so little having to change. It was great and incredibly satisfying to have a client who believed in the idea and to see it all working so well on the day.”

Flow project manager Ros Caboz helped Janet on the project. “Flow was briefed to come up with a concept to raise awareness of the FraudStop initiative for Standard Bank staff,” she says. “The activation was a novel and creative way of implementing it, and has proven very successful. It was a lot of fun and we worked with a great team from Standard Bank and Drama for Life.”

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Forensic investigators examine the scene (Image: Flow Communications)

Flow was delighted to work on the project with Drama for Life, which provided the actors who played the forensic investigators. Drama for Life is an initiative of Wits University that trains actors to deal with difficult challenges in their communities. Flow has long been associated with Drama for Life through a mentor programme run by Business and Arts South Africa.

Standard Bank staff members were intrigued and they engaged with the activation. The 1 000 information cards were soon snapped up, while there were more than 600 online enquiries on the day.

Keno Smith, manager of marketing communication and awareness at the Standard Bank Group, was pleased with how the brand activation went. “Thank you and well done on all the hard work in creating awareness around the FraudStop programme. It was different, impactful and very informative for staff. Great teamwork by all to make the day a success,” he said.

A huge amount of goodwill was generated as the detection team moved through buildings at 3, 5 and 6 Simmonds Street with their tape and scanners, raising awareness and enlisting help.

The campaign will continue to run via a series of comic-styled emailers that will emphasise Agent Smith’s call for help, as well as inform staff of the benefits of joining in the fight against fraud.

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“This has been a fascinating but ultimately rewarding campaign to work on, as having to function within the strict security and internal communications controls that Standard Bank has to enforce can prove challenging. The persistence and conviction of the Standard Bank team really helped to make the day a success,” says Janet.

Hopefully the campaign will succeed in the long term in not only raising awareness of fraud, but also getting Standard Bank staff involved in recognising it, reporting it and reaping the rewards.

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