Sometimes the things you don’t like about yourself are the things that can make you stand out.

The Rural Bank rebrand was conducted during a time of great uncertainty for the organisation. Born from a joint venture between Elders and Bendigo Bank in 2000, the Bank was originally called Elders Rural Bank. However, with some risk surrounding the Elders brand, the Bank wanted to distance itself from the Elders name as much as possible. Hence the rebranding process was initiated.

At first the Bank was reluctant to continue with its rural positioning, preferring instead to adopt a more urban outlook. However over the course of several stakeholder meetings, management came to realise that being rural was not a point of weakness but one of strength; that it was actually a strategic point of uniqueness for the brand.

Stay true to who you are and you’ll attract audiences who’ll stay true to you.

In-depth interviews with existing and potential clients revealed the paradoxical insights that while rural communities are extremely advanced technologically, they are still proud of their traditions and values.

On the other hand, market research revealed that there was a growing distrust of the Big 4 banks in rural communities for having deserted them when the going got tough. Clearly, there was a need for a specialist who was sensitive to the struggles of rural communities as well as the seasonal nature of agri economics.

This market gap underpinned the positioning platform for Rural Bank as ‘The Agribusiness Specialist’. The strategy was to build the brand as having comprehensive knowledge of both, the financial and emotional needs, of agri customers. This helped to create a differentiated brand that reflected the modern aspect of agribusiness while echoing the deep-rooted values that country people embrace.

Successful brand launch: It’s not just about developing an identity. It’s also about letting people know what you stand for.

Apart from design considerations, Nicknack also provided the strategic guidance that has helped Rural Bank position itself uniquely as the expert in rural finance. A brand launch campaign was developed to announce the new brand to internal staff and existing customers (posters and direct mail). This was followed by a mass media brand campaign in regional press and television, which was also carried over into the digital space with the bank’s new website.

The brand launch phase was highly successful with Rural Bank establishing itself amongst clients in key markets as a credible and viable alternative to the Big 4. Product uptake was high, partly owing to high internal morale driven by the Bank’s new vision and identity. The brand was also well received in metro markets for its investment products.