Close Brothers is part of the United Kingdom’s financial services heritage. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and operating since 1878, Close Brothers has built a strong reputation helping businesses thrive through invoice, asset, property financing, vehicle and brewery hire and premium financing. They also have a growing retail offering in Close Brothers Savings. Close Brothers operates as many federated institutions do, with a central lending facility supporting business units that are embedded in marketplaces with differing and unique needs. Close Brothers doesn’t have a single marketplace; it has dozens.
Close Brothers is divided into a series of business units, each focused on servicing a set of audiences. Coherence provides an estate of over 20 web applications — all Drupal and all hosted on Acquia Cloud — addressing each audience and supporting the marketing needs of each unit. Close Brothers Asset Finance had a lean marketing team, with strong marketing strategy and an ambitious organic and paid optimization approach. The small, focused team looked after five websites alone: www.closeassetfinance.co.uk, www.closeassetfinance.de, www.braemarfinance.co.uk, www.braemarfinance.ie and www.closebusinessfinance.com. This team had all the skills needed for success — strong web analytics and campaign capabilities, content generation and optimization skills, and data analytics capabilities. They were looking for a web platform that has the sophistication and power to allow them to execute their marketing strategy.
With five domains, each unique in their content approach, each requiring constant optimization to maintain ranking and all needing to reflect a common user experience, brand identity, security and stability standards, how does Close Brothers Asset Finance’s lean marketing team manage such a broad estate? And when you multiply that across the whole Close Brothers group, what does a multisite web estate with a common brand and divergent engagement strategies look like? Close Brothers needed to empower their marketers to manage their web properties without constant redevelopment to support common optimization, message testing and campaign needs. Additionally, the over 20 applications, each integrated into a unique sales process and data-capture integration, shared a common platform and needed to meet information security and GDPR compliance.
Coherence built Close Brothers a master website design system using Acquia Cohesion to power a common set of base styles, responsive behaviors, typographies, design patterns and interactive elements. These bake in best practices in accessibility, branding, semantic markup and user experience. This lets the content editor concentrate on messaging, confident in the knowledge that what they publish will be rendered to the best standards for user consumption and search visibility. Coherence’s design system helped Close Brothers roll out five websites within a year, each passing the bank’s technical, security and compliance checks. The sites were fully integrated into the GDPR-compliant CRM and optimized for search visibility.
Coherence used Acquia Cohesion to create a flexible design system of reusable patterns within Drupal, helping to bring each site to market in a fraction of the time taken to deliver a standalone native Drupal application. Cohesion then allows Close Brothers marketing teams to continue evolving their engagement strategies without costly onward development for core publishing tasks. Drupal provides the security, accessibility and integration features necessary to support the bank’s needs.
The lean Close Brothers Asset Finance marketing team was able to migrate an estate of five applications with thousands of content items and dozens of integrations from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 in under a year, while maintaining domain authority and conducting all other campaigns, outbound activities and content generation. A migration of this size can often bring a business’s marketing activity to a halt while the technical migration is completed. Close Brothers Asset Finance did not skip a beat. Ultimately, this meant that Close Brothers Asset Finance were able to start realizing the opportunity that their technology investment provided months ahead of a traditional approach.
The powerful and flexible drag-and-drop editing capabilities in their new CMS give Close Brothers Asset Finance the capability to optimize, message test, create campaign collateral, respond to events and maximize opportunities using their own time and skills, without relying on their agency. This allowed them to deploy budget on core marketing tasks — to be experimental and curious — rather than spend time and effort in lengthy agency briefing cycles. Crucially, it has allowed them to remain on the first rank of search results for their key terms against an evermore competitive marketplace.
Additionally, Close Brothers Asset Finance has the agility to gain further reach with their marketing. For example, they have a web estate with greater accessibility and have been able to create a German and Republic of Ireland market presence where before the costs of creating a standalone presence would have been prohibitive.
With Cohesion and the master design system supporting over 20 applications across the Close Brothers Group, Close Brothers Asset Finance has the freedom to target their audience’s needs within a framework that provides an entire institution with the ability to learn, optimize and evolve.