BankWest returned to television advertising this year after focusing its $10 million advertising account predominantly on niche marketing in 2003.
The recent mainstream campaigns may not have been enough to stop Bunnings taking out top spot as Western Australia’s most recognised brand, but they have evolved the bank’s advertising to a new platform, according to BankWest manager corporate standards and brand support, Matthew Dunstan.
“It’s an evolution of the strategy. Last year there was a lot of strategic work going on to take the bank forward and now we’re telling people about it,” Mr Dunstan said.
The ‘better deal’ ads, developed by The Brand Agency and launched in March this year, mark a change in the bank’s position statement.
Last year’s relative absence in the market followed 2002’s ‘we hear you’ campaign, which was evolved by The Brand Agency after being developed by 303 Advertising more than three years ago.
The ‘better deal’ tag line reinforces BankWest’s difference in the sector, according to Mr Dunstan.
“We don’t want to be one of the big four because the perception is negative and people think that the banks don’t care,” Mr Dunstan said.
“And while we are a significant player in the local market, we’re not as big and we can be different and nimble.
“What we wanted to do was have the creative look different, but substantiating our difference by communicating our better deals.”
The Brand Agency partner Colin McKay-Coghill said the repositioning to a retail strategy this year has resulted in BankWest owning a prized gap in the market.
“It has been the repositioning of the organisation based very much on retail and taking the space that no-one holds,” he said.
“Offering the better deal is a fantastic position to own in the market.”
Mr Dunstan said a return to consistent mass media advertising helped maintain BankWest’s presence in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
“Awareness is important for retail so that we remain top of mind,” he told WA Business News.
“St George Bank, Bendigo Bank, and RaboBank have entered the market and made it more competitive and I think it is more about offering a better deal.
“The WA aspect is an important attribute; all decisions are made from here, but all our consumer tracking tells us it’s not a decision-making attribute.
“It’s nice to have but it’s not about going to BankWest over the National Australia Bank and paying 4 per cent more just because we’re a WA-run company.”
BankWest also rated highly as one of the State’s most successful long-term brands.
While the name BankWest has only been around since 1994, the organisation first opened in 1895 as the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia.
On October 1 1945 it became the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia and almost 50 years later changed its name to BankWest.
This was followed by privatisation and listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.
UK banking group HBOS took over the bank last year.
BankWest’s brand is managed by a group of six people from different business areas within the bank who work alongside account directors at The Brand Agency.