Knowledge Bank case study

The Business

Knowledge Bank – Mortgage criteria search system for mortgage intermediaries and lenders

Industry Sector

Financial Services

The challenge:

Knowledge Bank was an innovative start-up and approached bClear to help it to launch into the mortgage market. Criteria search was a totally new concept at the time so bClear had to showcase the need for the Knowledge Bank solution as well as how it met that need.

It needed to hit the ground running so that brokers and lenders knew what the Knowledge Bank criteria search system was, what it offered and how they could benefit.

bClear was to establish Knowledge Bank in the mortgage market and help the business growth of Knowledge Bank with strategic PR consultancy and advice.

The aim for the press by delivering a constant, and consistent, stream of messages in each of the key mortgage press titles on a regular basis.

The results:


bClear helped Knowledge Bank with its initial company strategy to help it plan for its future developments, developing key messages and a detailed communications strategy.


bClear recommended and helped to organise Knowledge Bank’s presence and launch at the Financial Services Expo in London.


A successful launch and follow up PR activity, put the words ‘criteria search’ firmly on the agenda and creating widespread awareness of Knowledge Bank amongst both intermediaries and lenders.


bClear generated 1,128 pieces of coverage in the first year in the mortgage and regional press, in print, online and on social media, and in the five years of working together has secured over 5,000 pieces of coverage.


bClear established a monthly ‘Criteria tracker’ which is now recognised as a leading source of information, covered by key mortgage publications every month and some national press.


Journalists now regularly approach bClear requesting both statistics, and expert comment from Knowledge Bank.


bClear advised on which awards Knowledge Bank should enter and wrote each entry. As a result Knowledge Bank was shortlisted for 22 awards, winning 17.


Knowledge Bank is now recognised as THE mortgage criteria search system in the UK and has over 250 lenders with more than 120,000 pieces of criteria searchable on the system.

What our client says

Nicola Firth, founder and CEO of Knowledge Bank says:

“The bClear team not only delivers exceptional coverage results, they also provide invaluable strategic advice. The team is always on hand, whenever we need them, providing expert copy that comes from their unmatched knowledge of the market.

“With bClear’s support, we have progressed from a start-up into the industry leading criteria search system, and from being a complete unknown, bClear has made us a respected industry voice.”

How to get in touch

Whether you’ve got an urgent need for effective PR for your business, or just want to find out more about how we work, we’re always happy to chat.

Mike Norton - Account Director

What is your role at bClear?

I’m an account director, which means I manage, advise and write for a range of clients. Ultimately, my role is to raise the clients’ profiles, enhance their reputations and help them to grow and to realise their business ambitions.

What is your background and experience?

I’m a former journalist with more than 30 years’ experience of either working in or running regional newsrooms across the UK. Most recently, I was the editor of the Bristol Post and its website Bristol Live, and the editor-in-chief of a range of dailies, weeklies and websites from Gloucestershire to Dorset.

What inspires you?

Great writing has always inspired me – which is why I studied English Literature at university in the 1980s.

Nature inspires me, too. My desk in the bClear office looks through floor-to-ceiling windows across five miles of the unresting River Severn to Wales. The sliver of Welsh hills between the vast expanse of sky and water sometimes disappears into sea mist and others feels so close that you could touch it. It’s a view that no one could tire of.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I am very lucky because the clients I manage do incredibly interesting work. Beard Construction, for example, restores or creates amazing landmark buildings, while the clever software developed by SmartSearch is at the cutting edge of the fight against money laundering in the UK. And nothing beats the buzz of getting good media coverage for clients.

What do you like to do when you’re not at bClear?

Spend time with my family, of course, but I also like to be on two wheels, either on my road bike or my Triumph Street Twin motorbike. I love music, too, and I’m the drummer in a local covers band.

What does this photo mean to you?

I’m a long-term cycling fan and this is me with two of my absolute heroes – Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, about to start a stage of the Tour of Britain.

I say “with” them. In fact, I look slightly ridiculous hovering behind them, almost as if I’m photo-bombing. In reality, we had just spoken and they were both happy to pose for the picture. I was just too overawed to get any closer!

It was 2018. They were at the height of their powers. Geraint had just won the Tour de France and Chris had won it for the three previous consecutive years. I was very privileged to meet them – particularly in this unique way.