How Brands Are Using Digital Technologies To Energise Uninspiring Industries

When it comes to industries that are often seen as stagnant or uninspiring, many brands are now using digital technologies as a way to differentiate from the competition - such as insurance companies and utility brands. When it comes to engaging consumers in these markets, there are few strategies as effective as using digital in creative and innovative ways. When done well, the use of digital technologies to add value can even energise a whole industry.

Here are 5 companies using digital technologies to add value to otherwise uninspiring offerings:

VitalityHealth & Pro-Fit Rewards

The VitalityHealth health & life insurance brand arrived on the market in 2014 after being re-branded from Pru Health. VitalityHealth quickly put together a comprehensive rewards program, including a large digital component, looking to create extra value for prospective customers in what could otherwise be seen by their target market as an uninspiring and not particularly exciting market.

VitalityHealth aim to offer added value to their customers that also in theory decreases their likelihood to claim on their policy. VitalityHealth’s policies link up with the free app, Moves, to encourage exercise among its customers. Coupled with other rewards such as free iTunes vouchers, weekly free Starbucks coffee and gym discounts, offering a quite desirable piece of digital technology that also fits in well with their brand, builds a value proposition above any of their competitors.

Vitality UK

VitalityHealth reinforce their fitness-focused offering on social media, encouraging customers to interact by sharing their fitness experiences and providing inspirational stories and related fitness articles.

VitalityHealth are capitalising on wider growth in the health monitoring accessories market. Fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and health based apps are even beginning to be used by GPs and other health professionals to track patient data and monitor their ongoing health situation - a very exciting space of digital disruption!

We spoke with the team at Pro-Fit Rewards and why they chose to work with products from VitalityHealth. Danielle Jeans, Financial Consultant, told us, “Pro-Fit chose to work with products from VitalityLife and VitalityHealth because of their exciting approach to what most people consider a necessity rather than a luxury product.”

Pro-Fit Rewards also like VitalityHealth’s acknowledgement of how people are quite suspicious of giving their data away, “VitalityHealth are aware that there needs to be a payback for the information that people share with them so in return for engaging there are a range of cashbacks and rewards available.”

Nathan at Pro-Fit Rewards said; “It’s great to see clients getting excited about insurance and hearing about how they are using the benefits from day one of their policy. It's important to remember that it’s a financial product first and foremost though. Our advisers are trained to look at all aspects of financial planning and VitalityHealth is getting people interested in things they normally put off looking at, this can only be good for their long term financial security.”

To talk about VitalityHealth or VitalityLife, or any other financial planning you may be considering, we recommend giving Pro-Fit Rewards a call on 03302 230404 and speaking to Danielle, Sammi or e-mailing [email protected].

First Direct

First Direct may be owned by HSBC, but it’s far from any normal bank and digital technologies are a huge part of this difference. First Direct have no branches, so all of their customers’ banking is done via their app, website, call centres and social media accounts. With no physical touchpoint for customers, First Direct’s digital strategy has to offer something above and beyond it’s competitors.

First Direct

First Direct does this by making better use of digital than any other bank and revolutionising the way banks interact with their customers. You can reach a customer service representative via social media in minutes, so for the digitally minded, First Direct offer something quicker and easier than having to travel to the nearest branch to resolve a problem. They understand that banking is not considered an enjoyable activity and use digital to remove it from their customers’ lives as much as possible, freeing their time up for more interesting activities. In reality, their added value proposition is giving customers their time back.

First Direct have accelerated the trend in personal banking towards online and mobile banking. Customers now expect access to their balance and payments at a moment’s notice and demand the ability to customise they banking experience, with quick responses to problems. Brands that accommodate this expectation are bound to succeed.


It’s difficult to change the process of purchasing a pair of glasses. Such a product requires examination, selection and fitting. All things that are incredibly difficult to do online, and as a result, the way that the market operates hasn’t really changed over a long period of time. However, Specsavers are trying to change that long running process by innovating ways for customers to purchase glasses without having to visit their store.


Specsavers’ new augmented reality app allows you to try on glasses using your smartphone’s camera. It takes a scan of your face and then allows you to try glasses and view them from all angles. This drastically simplifies the buying process and adds elements of interactivity and social interaction that are likely to be particularly attractive to younger segments of their market.

Many brands have begun to use augmented reality to make the user experience more engaging and interactive - taking advantage of the wide ownership of smartphones to bring products to customer’s pockets in ways that drive sales through increased interaction.


Broadband is an incredibly competitive market so naturally, providers are producing increasingly more complex packages and offerings to entice customers. Plusnet take this trend in the opposite direction, however, by simplifying their packages and focusing on how they can provide great customer service.


Plusnet also offer an internet based TV option for broadband customers. Broadband as a product by itself isn’t exactly inspiring, so including a complementary product like this creates something more tangible for potential customers. Even if they don’t purchase the Internet TV option, this offering still allows customers to envisage the benefits of Plusnet’s high speed broadband services. Other broadband providers tend to add value by offering discounts and vouchers, but by offering something directly related to their broadband packages as a complementary product, Plusnet is able to provide something that the competition is not.


Utilities are not something that usually inspire confidence in consumers. In fact, they tend to breed mistrust over high costs and a lack of transparency - especially when your touchpoints with utility companies are only really to register complaints.

Nest uses digital to hand control back to heating customers in the shape of their smart thermostat system. The system connects customers’ boilers to their wireless network and allows for precise control of the heating system from a smartphone. Customers can set the temperature, or switch their heating on or off from anywhere in the world.


Although similar systems are also available, Nest was the first to really break through and started a trend in the utilities industry of handing greater control to customers, giving them greater responsibility for their energy costs and greater power to reduce their bills if possible.

In Summary

Digital technologies are being used to revolutionise industries that have previously been resistant to change and to create a higher value product or service in the eyes of customers, where previously they may have been seen as uninteresting or simply as necessities. Digital technologies are also creating bridges between consumers and industries that seem inaccessible or complex.

Which industries have you seen energised by the use of digital? Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know.

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