Bank in the business of listening

DESPITE a reduction in its use of television advertising this year in favour of developing niche markets on the east coast, BankWest has managed to maintain brand stature in the WA marketplace.

The company has been voted WA’s most prominent brand two years in a row in WA Business News’s advertising industry branding survey.

With BankWest director of communications and brand strategist Don McLean leaving the company earlier this year to join Snap Printing, the BankWest brand is now managed by a group of senior managers, a strategy that will deliver better outcomes, according to BankWest director of group strategy, Simon Walsh.

“While Don managed the brand directly we now have a brand council. Senior people from the division of consumer and the division of business banking and from strategy manage it,” Mr Walsh said.  “I like this model a lot better because we get a group of senior people to understand the brand strategy – the brand is not a separate section any more.”

But while there is a more collaborative approach to concepts and implementation, Mr Walsh is the final decision maker.

The $10 million advertising account is held with The Brand Agency, which has evolved 303’s “We Hear You” campaign over the past two years.

According to Mr Walsh the communication strategies have been much more targeted in the past 12 months.

“This year we have done less TV and we’ve changed the emphasis a little bit,” Mr Walsh said. “We have been doing a lot more direct marketing and being a little bit more specialised in what we do.”

One such example is the bank’s annual business loan sale. “We always do a business loan sale but this year’s campaign was very different. In previous years we have done TV and this year we did newspaper ads, direct mail and follow up phone calls,” Mr Walsh said.

The promotion also involved sending pizzas to potential and existing clients in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

“This was about cutting through the clutter, and when you have your client relationship manager turning up with a pizza it tends to work,” Mr Walsh said.”

BankWest manager corporate standards and brand support, Matthew Dunstan, said the pizza campaign was also about reinforcing the company’s ‘We Hear You’ brand message.

“The campaign was also about differentiating ourselves. What customers say about banks is that they are all the same,” Mr Dunstan said.

“Well, this was different, and we want to show that we are [different] and that we hear you.”

New phases of the BankWest’s master campaign are pencilled in for later this year.

“It is a logical extension from what we have been doing. It will make the ‘We Hear You’ message more tangible. This will show customers that we do hear them and this is what we are doing about it.”

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