CMO profile: What NAB's marketing and CX chief is doing to build customer culture

Suzana Ristevski shares how the financial services institution is rebuilding customer credentials post Royal Commission

Suzana Ristevski
Suzana Ristevski

Brand evolution

To complement the back-end transformation, Ristevski re-evaluated NAB’s brand campaign platform, ‘More than money’, to ensure it remained the right positioning post-Royal Commission. Armed with customer insights and research validating its relevance, it was time to refresh the campaign execution.

This led to the debut of ‘the Story of Progress’, a platform extension allowing NAB to continue talking about what customers want and need, Ristevski says.

“Customers all have their own stories of progress and looking at achieving their dreams. That platform was an authentic way to support what we say we want to do,” she says. “At a brand level, there are stories of progress is terms of our sponsorships. We’re super proud of AFLW for one, and were there to support the beginning of AFLW. So the story of progress supports that. Then there’s our customers – they’re dreaming about their homes, business, just surviving the next month. It’s all encapsulating. Even progress for us – you’ll see this playing out in terms of things we’re doing to progress. We acknowledge there were mistakes made and things we need to fix and do.”

For Ristevski, ‘Story of progress’ also provides a unifying platform to bring together previously distinct demand, brand and segment advertising.

“We’re in an environment where everyone is saving dollars, knowing they have to be efficient with our money. I can’t put my hand on my heart and say I’ve been efficient if I have scattered marketing approaches everywhere and I’m not creating a succinct platform for everyone to come off the back off, so everything is helping the brand,” Ristevski says.  

“We should never have an inauthentic brand that’s not harmonised. It puts pressure on the teams in terms of differentiated propositions too. Customers are expecting us to support them, so what are we doing in terms of financial fitness and grow. It’s just come into the market but initial data suggests it’s playing in the right place. Reputation has increased in the last month or so. But we want to make sure we’re constantly hitting the mark.”  

Personalisation emphasis

Of course, personalised engagement is another component of any modern marketing approach and Ristevski has plenty of examples to showcase how NAB is working to harness customer insights in everyday digital experiences. One is in-app capability offering financial fitness triggers which can be set up to help customers know if they’re doing something financially silly.

“We can set up to say well you are about to incur a fee – and there’s innovation there too. There are so many things around the org as a utility for customers or providing better experiences,” she says.  

Another is a white-label credit scoring offering so customers can see how far off they are from attaining a home loan and offering three key steps to get there.

“I’m interested in delivering the right messages at the right time through the right channel to the right customer. We define what is right by what customers want from us,” Ristevski says. “If they’re seeking proactive ways to improve their financial well-being, and that’s number one on the priority list, that’s how I will prioritise it.”

With NAB in transition to the cloud and working to pull all data sources together, personalisation is itself a work in progress. Ristevski points out websites, for instance, are about 60 per cent personalised, while other areas need more work.

“We have a good, insight-driven priority list of what the next sets of things we need to personalise are. It’s managing the transition state as we move to the cloud and as data sets move to the cloud,” she says. “This is about picking the instances that provide the highest outcomes for our customers.”

Ongoing priorities

Ristevski’s wider priority is on her commitment to the business to continue to drive revenue, trust and reputation.

“If we simplify things, it’s about using brand to drive trust and reputation; provide positive customer experiences; drive revenue; and offer safe, scaled communications on behalf of the enterprise as privacy and consent are key for us,” she says.  

“Trust and reputation now are huge, but I feel privileged, and I think the team feels privileged, that we’re moving the dial on trust and communications. That requires solid knowledge and understanding of customer. It’s where you put money where your mouth is from a marketing perspective.

“We have to push the levers, and move trust and reputation. But that’s very exciting because it means we’ve met customer expectations, done the right thing, and used the dollars in an effective way.”  

What’s also important is having conversations around whether bankers know what to do with these personalised insights, to better help them understand customers.

“We can never forget it’s our job to make sure we disseminating customer insights through the org in everything we do,” she concludes. “The tools are tools, and there will always be things we’ll be excited by, but they’re not the end state. They’re just ways and means.”

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