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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

NEST urged to rethink online-only communications

SHILLING Communication, the pensions and benefits communication specialists, today said that NEST and indeed all pension funds, should rethink the idea of only communicating online with members.

Commenting, Katie Frost, Director at SHILLING, said: "The idea of online only communications, we believe, misses the mark of good communications. There seems to be a trend - across many markets - that going online is the modern, innovative, right thing to do. We disagree. Aside from the fact that going online is not the cure to all of all pensions engagement problems, it’s also not the right medium to reach everyone that needs to be reached. Engagement is vital - tens of millions of pounds being spent on high tech websites is irrelevant if no-one knows it’s there or, in reality, cares about it.

"There is a very real danger that, unless this is addressed, the whole thing will have been a waste of time. An initiative of the scale that is NEST 2012 should be deployed at all levels of society - tv commercials, awareness campaigns, employer motivation, school and college education, not just online."

Frost added: "Communications should not be limited to one type of media. One size does not fit all. It seems, as usual, NEST is getting things the wrong way around - it should be the message first, then the audience, then how best to reach each audience. To make online communications work, aside from making sure your audience will have access, it has to be made personal - extensive measures will have to be taken to personalise it in such a way that is on par with face-to-face communications. We are unconvinced that these measures will be taken."