This may sound like a simple project, but it was a massive undertaking. Replacing the name of a bank is a lot more than just answering the phone with a new greeting. It requires all kinds of big ticket considerations, such as buying of new signs, pens, name badges and lots more. I don't quite remember what money boxes we had, but they were nowhere near as exciting as the elephants, Donald Ducks or soccer balls on offer from some of the competition.
In those days there was a stack of name changes and mergers. CBA and CBC became National Australia Bank. The Bank of NSW became Westpac (and always stood out at the time because Pacman had just been released). The Rural Bank sounded a little 'hayseedish', and instead adopted State Bank, without a 'The'.
State Bank was named so, to appear a little more marketable to the type of people that like to do business with a company that sounds like a Government Department.
Nic took care of the top end of town in Sydney, whilst I mixed it up with the real people, in the branch at Orange. My wife, Helen, worked at the same time in the Lithgow branch. However we didn't meet for another 23 years, so that's wholly irrelevant.
Nicster and I knew what we had to do. It was a grueling 4 months, and I was fast approaching corporate burn out. I decided to throw it all in, and give up my 6 figure salary ($5,200.00) and go back and do year 11. Some time later, State Bank ceased to exist. I'm not suggesting that my leaving left them in this position .... the jury's still out on that one.
|Whitlam/Seitam - then know as 'Whitl-Am'|
I have not worked in the banking sector since, but now look at bank marketing with a degree of cynicism. Several months ago my Morning Show topic was the award NAB received at Cannes.
To be fair, it was a great campaign, and I said exactly that. I first became exposed to the 'Break Up Campaign' walking through Newtown one morning. On the pavement, were chalk written 'I'm breaking up with you' messages.
Anyone familiar with Newtown knows it's not the place where graffiti really stands out. In fact walls without graffiti are more noticable, so it was hard to tell whether it was purely the work of one of our locally registered whackos.
NAB invested big in this campaign, and it was truly one of the most well thought out executions I have seen. They had a huge spike in new customers as a result, and it was well deserved. Although, stacked up against Westpac's mono-tonal 'We knew how then, we know how now' they didn't need to do much to take the lead.
CommBank were being raked over the coals for not passing on interest rate cuts. Alan Jones was angry. Very angry. So angry in fact that he had a chair permanently in place for CEO Ralph Norris, for any time he was brave enough to face an interview. Then again, Alan also has a vacant chair for Julia Gillard and several other Labor ministers, and Bob Brown .... and any other climate change sympathiser, making for a very cramped studio.
One thing struck me about NAB's Break Up campaign. If you're going to make a huge stand on the fact that you're different, and not like the others .... it does help to kind of stick with the promise. At least for a few months. It's not as if NAB had to make a huge guarantee, like Sidchrome's 100 year money back warranty (come to think of it, has anyone ever collected on that?)
Last week, NAB did exactly the opposite of its new mantra, and pocketed some of the Reserve Bank's rate cut like a cheatin' no good boyfriend, going back on a promise that the last ten times were accidents.
|Obligatory image of an oversized cat|
Ah, NAB, you break me up!
Craig Seitam 10/11/11