Creating a consumer-centric brand position for Bankwest

Fresh insights helped Bankwest develop a new, unique positioning, resulting in winning the hearts and minds of their consumers, and being nominated as finalist in the 2020 Effie Awards Australia.

The challenge

Competition in the bank sector was increasing. As a smaller player in the Australian banking sector, Bankwest needed to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd. Our brand tracking results over a few years had shown mixed results for the bank’s communications activity; the look & feel was inconsistent at times, and Bankwest didn’t always get as much bang for the media dollar as they would have liked.

Next to that, government regulators increased their focus on the Australian banking sector, and the consumer sentiment towards the latter suffered. The old ways of engaging and connecting with consumers clearly had to change.

Our solution

Together with consumers, InSites Consulting and Bankwest realized an intensive and iterative qualitative exploration, to really understand what consumers expect from a bank. We organized 15 executive interviews with bank leaders, followed by focus groups and online community discussions with 447 consumers and business owners across Western Australia and in Sydney. Finally, we validated our findings through a quantitative survey with 1,500+ participants. At each stage, we debriefed the bank’s senior leadership through workshops.

We identified five universal consumer truths:

  1. Consumers believe banks have treated them with disdain for decades, which resulted in high levels of consumer cynicism
  2. Consumers feel that banks show little regard for everyday realities and challenges
  3. Consumers think that banks hold all the power and knowledge
  4. Dealing with a bank is all one-way – consumers feel they are doing the hard work themselves
  5. Consumer see banks consistently prioritizing new customers over existing customers

The most resonating idea across segments was to invest in a more equal relationship between a bank and customer, allowing customers to have less ‘bank’ in their day-to-day life. Consumers want their bank to be there for them when they need it, and not to encroach on every aspect of their lives.

The impact

Bankwest reset their way of engaging with consumers by acknowledging that the bank does not need to be present all the time, and that, in fact, customers aim to bank less and live more.

These consumer insights resulted in Bankwest’s unique proposition ‘Bank Less. Coupled with a fresh new visual identity, Bankwest managed to win the hearts and minds of their home state in Western Australia and grow their footprint in New South Wales. Bankwest was a finalist in the 2020 Effie Awards Australia in the category ‘Insights & Strategic Thinking’.

Over the course of two years, we saw these new assets turn into an embedded cue that became synonymous with Bankwest and resulted in significantly improved branded memorability across their advertising.

Bankwest client testimonial

“Two years on since launching Bank Less, when being there for our customers is more important than ever, we still believe we can deliver genuine understanding, greater value and better transparency for our customers, while playing less of a role in their lives.”

CMO 2020, Bankwest

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