Category Work Report, Bank of America Repositioning, April 2013

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BBDO Digital Lab Money provides this analysis of the April brand repositioning of Bank of America. Part of the Digital Lab Money's ongoing tracking of category advertising in the financial sector.

Text of Category Work Report, Bank of America Repositioning, April 2013

  • REPOSITIONINGBANK OF AMERICA

    APRIL 2013

  • 2Whathas happened?

    Over the weekend, and during the NCAA Final Four, one of the most heavily watched events in the U.S., Bank of America launched a new brand position that centers on the connections it makes for consumers and clients.

    This reposition was launched through a multi-channel, integrated campaign. It comes on the heels of a significant investment made by the Bank of America to update its banking centers and digital banking capabilities.

  • 3Whydid it happen?

    12

    The reposition was not unexpected for two reasons:

    Bank of America had become the symbol of everything that was wrong with big banks. Its employees suffered from low morale and lacked a clear understanding or belief in the direction of the company.

    Through its acquisition of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch, the Bank of America had become a much different organization. Defining a new, common purpose to reflect its expanded capabilities and culture was critical for the brands and the employees.

    The Bank of America brand had been greatly tarnished over the last few years.

    } Shouldered more blame than any other financial institution for contributing to the recession, largely due to its acquisition of Countrywide.

    } Business changes like tightened lending standards and leading the industry in foreclosures made it no longer possible to claim being the provider of opportunities.

    } Public intentions of charging a $5 fee to use a debit card, re-pricing checking accounts, and closing business and home-equity lines of credit, made it an easy target for already-angry customers.

  • 4Whatis the new idea?

    The new idea demonstrates that Bank of America is committed to better, one connection at a time.

    What does it mean?

    The idea of facilitating connections, coupled with a tone that openly admits that the Bank is not at the center of anyones life, is a significant departure from being the Bank of Opportunity. It is more humble and more true to what the organization is looking to deliver.

    While helping connect people and clients to their money, financing, financial information and expertise is certainly true of its role, it is not at all unique to Bank of America within the financial industry.

    The idea of human connections has merit in this category; however we question how its being brought to life. To date, the work lacks clarity around the end benefit and precision around how connections works to help stakeholders achieve a better experience.

    Finally, outside of finance, the idea of connecting is ripe territory for countless other industries too. It is more humble and more true to what the organization is looking to deliver.

  • 5Tagline

    TAGLINES

    Consumer & Small Business Bank: Lifes better when were connected

    Commercial, Investment Bank and Global Markets: The power of global connections

    Notable creative language: We know were not the center of your life, but well do our best to help you connect to what is

  • 6Howit comes to life:

    IN-STORE:

    Bank of America spent the last year remodeling 2,000 of its 5,400 branches across the country. Like many retailers, Bank of America wants its physical locations to provide an experience, not just a transaction center.

    Private rooms are available for meetings with financial specialists; about 100 branches have rooms with videoconferencing capabilities, too, for customers to be able to meet with specialists remotely if a branch doesnt have someone on-site. The bank currently has 6,500 specialists financial advisers, mortgage loan officers and small-business bankers staffing its branches and phone lines, and hopes to have 7,800 available by the end of the year.

    Face-to-face interactions are a key part of what Bank of America is trying to accomplish. After all the heat banks took during and after the financial crisis, part of Bank of Americas transformation is about regaining customer trust.

  • 7Howit comes to life (cont.):

    Masterbrand TV:

    Anthem spot Portraits focuses on a familys evolution and uses a married couple as a metaphor. This has the potential to demonstrate that the Bank understands whats truly important to its customers. The execution is hard to follow, however, and lacks a clear role for the Bank leaving viewers to figure that out.

    Brand spots focus on the connection between Bank of America and communities across the United States. For example, in San Diego the spot demonstrates how researchers, entrepreneurs and bankers shared a vision to help foster the biofuel industry claiming that Bank of America connected minds and technology to help fuel a nations future. These executions feel very familiar to a lot of work in the finance and B2B space.

    ADVERTISING:

    All TV spots share a device that takes the viewer back in time to the point at which Bank of America connected the parties in the story to something they needed in order to advance.

    CLICK TO VISIT BANK OF AMERICAS YOUTUBE CHANNEL

  • 8Howit comes to life (cont.):

    ADVERTISING:

    Business, Investment Banking and Global Markets TV:

    Each execution highlights a business or organization that was helped by BAC/BACML banking or financing. This model has become the go-to strategy for nearly all Banks. While these executions communicate the Banks role, they fail to differentiate it from competitors.

    CLICK TO VISIT BANK OF AMERICAS YOUTUBE CHANNEL

    Consumer Bank TV:

    Two other Consumer spots also rotate into the mix. One focuses on the BankAmericard Credit Card and the other on BankAmeriDeals, a cash-back rewards program. Both were heavily marketed prior to the reposition and have been largely reworked with the new campaign device. In this case, telling the story backwards seems to detract from the Banks ability to clearly communicate what are already somewhat complex value propositions.

  • 9AD CODE: BACB-11295 SOURCE: Washington Post-APR 8 13Page 1 of 2

    AD CODE: BACB-11295 SOURCE: Washington Post-APR 8 13Page 2 of 2

    Howit comes to life (cont.):

    PRINT:

    Brand print launched Monday, April 8th in publications like the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

    Employees Video:

    Highlights employees from all of the Bank of America companies, and lets them tell viewers in their own words about the way they do business. Liberal use of terms like relationships, human, and trust convey a nice tone for the Bank, and this kind of employee message has performed strongly in the past for rallying internal teams.

  • 10

    Howit comes to life (cont.):

    OUTDOOR:

    Utilizing their Times Square billboard, Bank of America featured non-profit organizations theyre connected to.

    PARTNERSHIPS:

    A new partnership with online educational website Khan Academy offers to teach its customers about financial literacy. Khan Academy is a non-profit education website that provides free access to video lessons and exercises on everything from basic math, to art history, to organic chemistry.

    Its new site, BetterMoneyHabits.com, will be open to everyone, not just Bank of America customers, and it will host a combination of Bank of America and Khan-produced content on topics such as understanding mortgages and steps toward getting out of debt.

  • 11

    Howit comes to life (cont.):

    DIGITAL:

    Connections is a challenging position for Bank of America to take, unless backed up with a digital strategy that offers real, tangible, enhanced connection with consumers. The campaign did show an innovative use of the Bank of Americas Times Square outdoor property (keeping in mind the scale of Times Square is only so big). The Bank of America donated 30% of its Times Square ad space to its community partners whom they support, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, and the messages were designed to amplify Bank of Americas social buzz via Facebook and Twitter as both the organizations and followers of organizations tweeted and retweeted the billboards. The tweets about the Times Square ads were retweeted by Bank of America with a generic link to Bank of Americas YouTube channel to view its TV spots and employee testimonials. This presents a missed opportunity to truly engage with consumers who are talking about the Bank of America. The 300K+ Bank of America Twitter followers and their connections only converted to an average of 200 views per each of the seven spots. The YouTube channel was not branded with the look and feel of the campaign, which may have added to the drop-off. The Bank of America site was branded, but did little to improve connection with consumers beyond new graphics and embedded TV spots. Giving its premium Times Square real estate to its community partners is a good demonstration of facilitating connection, driving Twitter and social media involvement, and deeper engagement with the brand. Driving Twitter traffic to YouTube to watch TV spots, however, is not. Well continue to monitor the digital rollout of the campaign as we expect more work to launch.

  • 12

    SOCIAL MEDIA

    DIGITAL PAID MEDIA.BUSINESS AS USUAL.NEW BANNER ADS FOR GLOBAL AMBASSADORSUPPORTS WOMEN IN BUSINESS.NO PAID MEDIA TO SUPPORT NEW MESSAGING.

    TIMES SQUARE PROPERTYGIVES MEDIA SPACE TO ALL PARTNERS TO SHAREAND FOLLOW ON TWITTER.

    TWITTER BOOSTED BY SUPPORTERS OF CAUSES AND BOA RETWEETS. TWEETS ALL PUSH TO YOUTUBE AND SITE.

    DISCONNECT - FEW VIEWS ON YOUTUBE. COMMUNITY SECTION SHUT OFF. NO COMMENTS ALLOWED ON POSTS. YOUTUBE DOESNT REFLECT NEW DESIGN.

    FURTHER DISCONNECT - VANITY URL EMPLOYEE POSTS. SIMPLY REWATCH WHAT YOUVE JUST SEEN. NO COMMENTS.

    SITE SHOWS NEW DESIGN. NOTHING USEFUL ADDED