Bank First or Customer First? Confusing rebrand messaging.

rebrand, name change

New look, new name with a contradictory sales pitch.

Next month Victorian Teachers Mutual Bank will relaunch as Bank First.

The new name and identity gives the bank a much simpler and stronger name to compete with other mutual banks. It also shifts the brand from its traditional Victorian teacher niche to a broader ‘people first’ brand proposition.

While this opens up the brand’s market it also potentially loses any differentiation from several other big bank alternatives. Bendigo Bank, Bank Australia, Beyond Bank and CUA who are all fighting to own ‘people or customer first’ propositions.

Vital with any brand change, especially for a member based organisation, is selling the change to members. Bank First will need to sure up their loyal members before they seek to attract new customers.

“Introducing a name that puts you first” is the headline for the brand change to members.

Did someone not point out that the new name ‘Bank First’ actually does the opposite? ‘Bank’ is first.

The new name actually tells customers the opposite of what the brand stands for. It says the bank comes first.

Bank First says it is an organisation that exists to support the people who put others first.

“That’s why we are changing our name in December, to one that better represents what we stand for – Bank First. Bank First is a strong, modern name that reflects our focus on putting our customers first.”

rebrand, rename

If the bank’s strategy is to diversify and move away from just focusing on Victoria and teachers, the new name makes sense. It’s also no longer a mouthful.

However, the story doesn’t make sense. If they want the brand name that tells the story of a bank that puts customers first, it misses the mark.

As they’ve committed to the name, some urgent tweaking of the story is needed.

As for the new Bank First logo, it’s certainly stronger than the previous efforts. The brandmark is based on the Australian native ‘powerful owl’. This is a deliberate attempt to capture the banks teaching heritage with a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.

Bank First says that it will continue to support the education community and remains driven by the same care and compassion as when it started in 1972.

Michael Hughes

Michael is Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years’ experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in unlocking the strategic power of your brand to create a differentiated, compelling and authentic brand proposition that will engage all your audiences. Michael has extensive experience working across Australia and the Middle East working with leading Australian and International organisations across just about every sector.

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