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Brand Building: How to be Authentically Personal

Brand Building: How to be Authentically Personal

Brenda Khumalo

Managing Director Collective ID BrendaK@collectiveid.co.za

Thobeka Sibiya

Senior Strategic Planner Collective ID ThobekaS@collectiveid.co.za

Never before in history has the average consumer held so much power.

With social and mobile technology at our fingertips, everyday people can voice their opinions and rally communities to do the same. The challenge for brands today is determining how to use the voice of the consumer to their advantage.

On a journey to personalization, there is a thin line between being personal and being creepy (no brand wants to become a stalker). So, markets are now faced with the challenge of creating personalized, relevant content that does not feel intrusive.

By focusing on building a brand through personalization, Standard Bank is one of the great case studies. The bank was experiencing a significant net loss of customers year-on-year (from 2015 to 2017) and was also measuring below industry average on customer satisfaction for Personal and Business Banking. As one of the oldest banks in South Africa, relying on legacy versus using heritage to evolve with the times meant that challenger brands like Capitec Bank and First National Bank could easily snatch customers using innovation in a relevant content, which would increase their perceived value amongst consumers - giving them exactly what they needed, when they needed it.

This led the brand to seriously rethink its positioning and role in people’s lives.

To build a brand, businesses need to understand their consumer’s ambitions and dreams in order to enable them to reach their success through the brand. In order to grow market share, the campaign focused on the growing middle market segment, i.e., ‘the rainmakers’ who are defined as youthful (25 - 35) and ambitious with a mature outlook. They live their lives to the fullest, are sociable, vibrant, free thinkers and multifaceted. They live a fast life and move and succeed in different worlds. With this consumer in mind, the brand had to make sure it spoke to their individual mindset, and not broadly as a homogeneous group. Consequently, Standard Bank developed the ‘What’s Your Next?’ campaign. The campaign was inspired by the insight about individuals being on unique journeys to their Next (progress) - whether it is as small as

a next holiday or as big as starting a new business venture, individuals are always on a journey of pursuing their next thing that will better their lives.

Carving the brand’s personal role in each individual’s life, Standard Bank became a brand that seeks to encourage people to never stop asking this reflective question: ‘What’s Your Next?’. The answer to this question allowed Standard Bank to partner with customers in realizing their individual NEXTs. Standard Bank moved into a space where they became the enabler for people to reach their goals by providing them with banking products that meet their specific needs.

Beyond just communication, the bank applied the use of data, technology, and service excellence, together with new ways of working to empower their people (staff), to continuously

delivering an exceptional, personalised experience to their customers.

In just under a year since the launch of the ‘What’s Your Next?’ campaign, the results were impressive. For the first time in four years, Standard Bank Consumer Satisfaction scores rose by 4.4 percent from 71.9 percent in 2016 to 75.2 percent in 2017, which was the largest increase for any South African bank according to Business Insider South Africa 2018.

People make decisions mainly based on emotions and content, thus content needs to be more human and personal for people to easily process and relate to it.

The takeaway? Make it easy for people to choose your brand by giving them a voice, power, and by talking to them as individuals.