The Housing Finance Corporation – Case Study

Challenge

As an £8bn mutual lender, The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC) is by some distance the leader in the affordable housing aggregator market and one of the largest long-term funders in the affordable housing sector. It has a prestigious, 35-year legacy and an exceptional level of expertise and knowledge working across the social housing sector and funding markets. As it looks to the future, and amid a changing sector landscape, THFC wanted to ensure it told its story effectively while exploring ways to further support its housing association clients. The group looked to Social to help deliver a fresh approach to how it engages with the sector, particularly around thought leadership, research and the ESG agenda. The result has been a series of highly successful, high impact projects for THFC, with the Social team acting as trusted adviser to THFC’s leadership team.

Solution

We worked with THFC’s leadership team, board and management on the creation of the group’s communications strategy by:

  • Leading communications strategy sprint workshops
  • Undertaking a perceptions audit.
  • Preparing a communications strategy

We conducted three strategy sprints, each focused on a different area (e.g stakeholders, purpose). We then captured all the key information in a single live document which included core objectives, purpose, audiences, key messages and tactics. It informs all communications and messaging and is designed to be used with or without our team’s support.

With the new strategy in place, we got to work on delivery. We worked in partnership with THFC’s communications lead to draw on the group’s deep knowledge of the sector to deliver targeted initiatives.

Results

We helped THFC with key launches, such as:

1) Social Bond Framework (May 21)

2) Social Impact & Sustainability Reporting Standard Disclosure Report (Sep 21)

3) Sustainable Bond Framework (Oct 21)

4) Retrofit research (Autumn 21)

 

Key projects:

THFC Insights launch: drawing on the knowledge of the THFC team, network and client base, Social helped create a knowledge hub that serves THFC’s clients and the wider sector. The hub hosts regular analysis, comment and insights for THFC’s clients and wider network. www.thfcorp.com/insights/

News and media: Social secured 44 news, interviews and comment items for THFC in the space of nine months, including two front pages on the sector’s leading finance publication, debut coverage in the ESG press and continued coverage in the investment B2B media. This included the launch of THFCs ground-breaking report on the future of funding retrofit. Through Social Invest’s work, THFC has been covered in ESG Investor, ESG Clarity, IFR, Social Housing, Inside Housing, Scottish Housing News, Housing Digital and others.

ESG report: THFC subsidiary bLEND became the first sector lender to report against the sector ESG standard, compiling information from 16 borrowers. Social designed and edited the report, and led a media launch.

Cambridge Symposium: THFC holds a biennial conference for housing leaders. Social led on brand and marketing, produced a programme, and provided advisory and planning support for event content and speakers throughout, including securing speakers. Social also helped THFC run a poll and engage its delegate base.

What was achieved

Along with extensive coverage and positioning as a thought leader of and partner to the sector, these projects have cemented and enhanced THFC’s reputation as the leading mutual lender in the sector. We have demonstrated THFC’s authoritative position, and continues to build their reputation and awareness in a changing media landscape and wider sector.