How do you revitalize a bank that’s had serious reputation issues? Following fallout from the financial crisis and being nationalized by the state, Austria’s Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank (Hypo Bank) was dealing with serious legacy issues. By the time Advent International, a private equity investor, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) acquired it in 2015, consumers’ consideration of Hypo was very low.
The new owners knew it needed a brand-new bank, and in January of 2016, Prophet was enlisted to help rebuild it from the ground up. In a matter of weeks, we worked with bank executives to rename it Addiko. A word with no official meaning, it gave the bank a blank slate, and a second chance with consumers.
Our research uncovered a crucial customer insight that people in Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia felt confused by overly complex banking products. We realized that while most banks pile on more products and paperwork, customers actually want less. They want a simpler, hassle-free way of banking. This led to Addiko’s new brand promise: Straightforward banking that focuses on essentials. That meant becoming more efficient, with shorter queues, and more digital and mobile options. And it called for communicating simply, eliminating jargon, shortening contracts and avoiding asterisks. A clever graphic character, cleanly drawn, walked consumers through the changes, as did a complete advertising campaign.
We also helped Addiko coach employees to “acknowledge and tackle” the challenges they faced. This approach to straightforward banking, which stands for a proactive, optimistic and down-to-earth way of doing business, has become the bank’s mantra.
One of the most exciting parts of this launch is how fast it was executed. Within 12 months, Addiko had already achieved the same level of brand recognition as its predecessor, and higher levels of loyalty than some of its main competitors.
Across markets in its core SEE markets, Addiko rose in consumers’ consideration sets, and importantly, job-application rates soared. Its NPS score increased, and The Financial Brand named it among the most beautiful brand identities in banking.
Addiko’s CEO said, “Strategy is about making choices. It's about deliberately choosing to be different and we decided to be straightforward. But the Addiko brand does not only represent a name change. It is our new business strategy, our unique positioning, our desire to introduce and implement new, higher business standards, and a new corporate culture. But first and foremost, it is our commitment to improving and changing the way we feel banking should be done. The Addiko brand and this transformation is starting point for building a better bank. A straightforward bank.”
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