10 lessons in making a rebrand a whole of organisation job

Great Southern Bank's chief customer officer details the key steps in rebranding and finding a fresh purpose for credit union and the data-driven process she's taken


6. Farewell your old brand with aplomb  

As part of the brand switchover, formal ceremonies were instigated to send off the CUA brand in style, including a collection of old assets. More than 5000 assets were identified as part of an audit requiring transition to the new branding.  

“Some team members have been here 35 years and have seen seven different names in that time. We used Facebook Workplace to share those experiences and stories,” Keleher said.  

“We wanted as much data to possible to take the emotion out of the decisions. But it was also OK to celebrate the past of CUA. We had Throwbank Thursdays where some staff showed old pics from the 1960s.”    

7. Embrace your new personality wholeheartedly  

At the same time, creating an emotional connection to the new brand was vital. “Even when we launched to team members first, then customers and broker partnerships, we wanted to ensure team members could speak with confidence, talk about why we retained the colour teal, how the logo was developed. I feel every team member could do that,” Keleher said.  

Another successful project around showing up differently was a fashion show of newly branded staff uniforms that also highlighted the fresh brand personality. Staff were invited to submit a video showing both. From there, a panel selected several frontline team members who created a video of the new uniforms while showcasing the fresh personality of Great Southern Bank. Keleher said the content was incredibly well received.  

8. Timing is everything  

Branded assets were triaged and prioritised as part of the planning, with customer-facing experiences and platforms prioritised first. On 1 June, all customer services platforms including mobile and online banking, plus credit cards and consumer lending, transitioned on the new date.  

In addition, the Melbourne call centre, office in Sydney and office in Brisbane were swapped over overnight, meaning staff came in the next day to new lanyards, badges, desktop images, car parking space signage and Covid signs.  

“People wanted to get involved and we had a group of people in the business who wanted to be part of the change – they were like an army and took that on themselves,” Keleher said.  

Great Southern Bank’s flagship Melbourne branch is opening shortly with the new look. “But we also made sure we had signage and posters with new branding in branches for several weeks,” Keleher said.  

“We didn’t want customers to walk past and wonder where CUA went. For one month prior, had communications saying we are changing then we have changed from 1 June.”  

In mid-June, Great Southern Bank launched a new marketing campaign, ‘Happily Clever After’, consisting of TV, out-of-home, digital, PR and social. The creative aims to showcase the new ways the bank can help Australians on their home ownership journey.  

Richard Rose was brought on to undertake the brand creative strategy, Carat is in charge of media strategy and Keep Left the PR and social strategy.  

9. Take an evidence-based approach  

All the way through, Keleher has been conscious of being thorough and thoughtful. That required research and being data driven.  

“I had a board to take on a journey and needed it to be an evidence-based decision tied tightly together with our business strategy,” she said. “That was rigorous and rightly so. It’s the biggest change in the organisation’s history. The fact that the approach we took was very deliberate, and also engaging expert third parties was important as well.”  

10. Identify measures of success and timelines 

This also means being thorough about measures of success. At a top-line level, Great Southern Bank wants to double its market share in the next three years.  

One measure Keleher will use to gauge success is the engagement survey. “One of the weaker results, even though we perform strongly from engagement perspective was alignment to purpose. I’m hoping to see a big shift there,” she said.    

“Our NPS is strong and maintaining that through a major change like this with current customers was something we also set targets and roles around. Then there are lead indicators such as traffic to websites and appropriate brand tracking through Kantar.”  

Keleher has also worked to be clear with the board on what to expect and timeframes to understand whether the Great Southern Bank rebrand been successful. A big one here is building prompted brand awareness of 45. 

“At the end of the day it’s about the discipline and execution name for me and my team, which is staying true to a strong brand proposition,” she added.  

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