A few thoughts on the Bank [MECU] Australia re-brand

As a loyal Bank Australia customer I watched this re-brand with a lot of interest and really hoped it would be a success. The new name Bank Australia comes with a great deal of potential as well as a few pitfalls.Tank, the agency behind the re-brand, say Bank Australia is a “strong unambiguous name” but I’m not sure that is correct. Our country names “Australia” “America” “E-n-g-e-r-l-a-n-d” have become pejorative terms in many circles. Our national identities hijacked by jingoism and nationalism of the worst kind, with little association with tolerance, compassion or inclusivity. On one level this could be seen as an issue but for me here lies the real opportunity with the new name. This re-brand has the potential to create a new platform where customers can come together and share many of the banks inclusive, democratic and conservation values, reasserting Aussie ideals of fairness, tolerance and respect. I think handled correctly the new name will become a real asset and a potential magnate for many consumers in the future.

There is a risk that the name will just blend in and feel like just another ‘Australian’ ‘Bank.’ Google the two words and the big four are close behind. I strongly believe in order for the re-brand to succeed Bank Australia communications will need that bit extra when it comes to differentiation. We are seeing this already with the first few bits of Communication but I’m not convinced that things are being taken far enough. The message is clear but is the ‘stand out’ there?

The new logo also faces a similar challenge – It would be easy to say it lacks any real punch or differentiation. When you line it up with the big banks you don’t go Wow!, that looks different. It’s certainly no London Olympics logo but then I’m not privy to the full strategy. Pperhaps the research suggested a less challenging design would draw in more new customers than a more challenging design. After all banks are very much about feeling your money is secure. From this perspective the work is a success. As is so often the case, in the long run, it’s not just the design it’s about how you use it. Its simplicity does allow for it to be easily deconstructed in the future and used in juxtaposition with other graphic elements, coming to life in many different ways. Again all stuff the guys at Tank have probably planned for already as part of the 2020 strategy.

Under Consideration have featured the re-brand noting the colour may well provide the stand out that is needed. It’s a site mainly frequented by designers so they too are always looking for something more edgy but the design seems to have been well received by the community on the whole. Application appears to have been particularity popular in the polls. I did like the tongue in cheek comment on the name “even if it’s a little ambitious by naming itself after the continent”

Ultimately what matters most is the Brand Vision “a genuinely responsible bank” and the all the branding work should be there to complement it. The rebrand certainly doesn’t get in the way. Whilst I think it will be an ongoing challenge to ensure Bank Australia doesn’t blend into the background, the platform is now nicely in place. This is a re-brand that ticks all the right boxes, the challenge will be maintaining the momentum and differentiation. Not being one of ‘the big 4’, being customer owned and being responsible certainly gives Bank Australia plenty of material to work with, so the potential for success is all there.