ING banks on actress Isla Fisher to spearhead new branding campaign
Five years since dropping comedian Billy Connolly in favour of a talking orang-utan, ING Direct is betting on actress Isla Fisher to power its latest assault in the competitive $4.3 trillion banking market.
As several banks, including ANZ and ME Bank, refresh their marketing, ING will today unveil Fisher as its first celebrity ambassador since Connolly and the face of a new advertising campaign to power its strategy of trying to be customers’ “primary bank”.
Led by Fisher — who holds an ING Orange Everyday transaction account — rallying customers to share their experiences, the campaign launched through social media channels on Friday before a wider assault on June 14 across television, cinema and digital.
ING, the nation’s fifth-largest mortgage lender, hopes encouraging customers to share their experiences will show others “how banking can be”, while giving the bank with insight into how it can improve products and services.
“Given the existence of social media, it’s happening anyway. Our customers talk a lot about us,” ING chief Vaughn Richtor told The Australian, adding the bank’s leading net promoter score — a measure of customer advocacy — provided confidence to “amplify” the discussion. “They say nice things about us, they also say things we should start doing or things we could do better, either way it’s valuable as we’re human beings and we don’t get it right every time but what we do look for is continuous improvement and the only way to do that is do those things customers truly value.
“It’s not some vague promise it’s actually what we deliver … a broad range of products and a great experience.”
It comes as banks refresh their brands ahead of what analysts say will be a tougher period ahead that will require strict cost control. Among the big banks, ANZ recently dropped its “We live in your world” slogan, and actor Simon Baker, in favour of “Your world your way”.
Last week, junior lender ME Bank also “modernised” its brand, ditching the “bank” to become just “ME” and installing a black-and-white logo too align with customers’ views that banking has become too complicated.
ANZ chief Mike Smith said its new campaign was intended to drive innovation in the new digital world and inspire customers to “do things to help yourself”.
“I don’t think we have enough inspiration in Australia,” Mr Smith told The Australian. “There’s a lot of innovation here but a lot of it gets suppressed or it moves over to the US. We’ve got to be a bit more inspirational about actually taking on these different ideas and different innovations and actually welcoming and embracing them.”
John Arnott, ING’s executive director of customers, said the bank chose Fisher as she represented the brand’s values of authenticity, achievement and “natural irreverence”. She also had a high level of local and global awareness from appearances on TV show Home and Away plus Hollywood films like Wedding Crashers and The Great Gatsby, but would complement rather than be “bigger than the brand”.
Mr Arnott added ING’s marketing investments had been flat in recent years despite launching products like Living Super and the Orange transaction account.
“We’re in a position where we have a cost advantage of not having branches and we like to invest that both in our customers, but also our communication so we can share the message among the rest of Australia,” he said.
After years of speculation about launching a credit card, Mr Richtor said ING had a “whole series of products” planned for the next three years, including small business and consumer finance, but the new campaign was not laying the ground for any imminent launch. He added its primary bank strategy was gaining traction, with the number of customers holding a transaction account — a key proxy — rising to 20 per cent, from 12 per cent a year ago.
ING DIRECT teams up with Isla Fisher to show Australians how banking can be
ING DIRECT has announced Isla Fisher as brand ambassador as it launches its new advertising campaign showing Australians how banking can be.
The national campaign highlights the benefits of banking with ING DIRECT, joining Isla through her journey in getting to know the bank, becoming a customer and a fan and, finally, sharing customers’ good news stories.
The campaign celebrates ING DIRECT’s positon as the country’s most recommended bank, holding the number one rating for customer advocacy among banks; a score that’s even higher for customers who use ING DIRECT as their primary bank.
John Arnott, Executive Director, Customers, ING DIRECT, said: “This is about us talking the walk. We’ve built a fantastic proposition across transacting, saving, mortgages and superannuation, and we share our success with our customers to help them get ahead. We are a unique business in how we operate and what we do for our customers, and it’s time for us to share this customer experience more broadly.”
Through an initial social media component customers are encouraged to share their experiences of banking with ING DIRECT at www.islaforingdirect.com.au, and their stories will become central to the brand campaign into early 2016.
Mr. Arnott added: “We are relying on our customers sharing their stories of dealing with ING DIRECT and you can only do this if your customers are willing advocates.
“We have worked hard to create a truly customer-centric bank and we are now in a position where we can put advocacy at the heart of our brand.”
Speaking of working with Isla Fisher, Mr. Arnott said: “Isla is our first celebrity ambassador since Billy Connolly, and we’re delighted to have her on board. We’re confident that she will help us make banking human and show Australians how banking can be.”
The campaign supports ING DIRECT’s strategy of being the primary bank for its customers and launched through ING DIRECT’s social media channels on Friday 29 May, with Isla rallying customers to share their experience of ING DIRECT. An above the line campaign will launch on 14 June across television, cinema and digital.
ING DIRECT offers award winning products and services across savings, home loans, payment accounts and superannuation. Since 2012 ING DIRECT has given more than $54 million to its customers through its loyalty cash rewards program.
Actress Isla Fisher fronts ING Direct campaign as brand looks to become a ‘primary bank’
Australian actress Isla Fisher is spearheading a multimillion dollar campaign for ING Direct as it looks to shift perceptions of the brand and position itself as a “main bank”.
Executive director, customer, John Arnott, said the “screen led” drive, which includes social, digital, TV and cinema, signals the beginning of a new marketing strategy for the company.
The campaign is the first major work for the brand by VCCP who won the creative account in December.
Arnott said ING Direct, who will plough $10m into the campaign over the next six months, has been too silent for too long in promoting its range of services.
“Our customers are talking about us but we have not been amplifying it through our marketing communications,” he admitted. “That is changing. We deliver the customer experience and, in line with our strategy to be a main bank, we need to back that up in our communications.”
The social element of the campaign kicked off late last week with a 15 and 30-second video starring new ING Direct brand ambassador Isla Fisher. In the spot, Fisher refers to ING Direct as ‘ing’ – a regular misnomer – before inviting people to visit islaforingdirect.com.au to comment on their experiences.
TV will kick off on June 14 with several other executions to be rolled out during the year.
Arnott said a screen-led approach was chosen as it enables the company to deliver a “more emotive message”.
The campaign will highlight the benefits of banking with ING Direct, with Fisher learning about the bank during the course of the campaign in a strategy to educate the wider public of its services.
Consumer stories will become central to the brand campaign into early 2016, Arnott said.
“Isla is going on a journey to understand who we are, what we stand for and what is so good about us,” he said. “She becomes a customer and a brand ambassador.
“We are trying to grow awareness of us being a primary bank. We are well known as a savings institution but we are so much more than that. We offer superannuation, mortgages and every day banking and this campaign will demonstrate that.”
Arnott said it will also look to break down barriers which sometimes work against the bank, such as its lack of physical branches.
“We don’t have physical locations but we have a wonderful call centre which Isla will talk about and show that you don’t need branches,” he said.
“The campaign will also show our breadth of products. It is very important for people when they switch banks to know there is a range of products.”
Arnott said Fisher brings “irreverence and fun” to the role and has an “authenticity” that IND Direct was looking for.
It is not the first time the brand has turned to a celebrity to endorse the brand. Comedian Billy Connolly fronted a wider ING group campaign in the mid 2000s before turning to Charles the Orangutan in 2010.
Arnott hinted that Charles may re-appear in the forthcoming campaign.
He told Mumbrella that Fisher was an ideal fit for the brand and said celebrity endorsement, if done right, can achieve “cut through in an environment and relatively cluttered”.
“We were looking for someone who was well known but who was authentic and genuine and who wasn’t going to be bigger than the brand,” he said. “Isla was perfect. She has an irreverence about her which goes back to our heritage brand values. We want to put fun into the campaign.”
Questioned on whether personality-endorsed brands still resonate with consumers, Arnott said: “It was important we had someone who would appeal to our core target group and who hadn’t worked extensively in the advertising industry before and had a fresh perspective.
“It’s true to say that some [personalities] are seen as being in it for the money rather than the cause.”