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March, 2024

When a brand play delivers More Than Money: NAB’s global head of brand cites record consideration, Gen Z connection and media efficiency gains eight years on from the tagline’s launch

That catchy song lyric, ‘Know when to hold them and know when to fold them’, springs to mind when NAB’s head of group brand, Sue Brailsford, talks about the ongoing pay-off from the bank’s ‘More than Money’ marketing moniker and brand play.

Eight years on from its debut, NAB is very much holding onto to its ‘More than Money’ brand cards, taking the wrappers off its latest campaign version in March.

There are differences this year of course. NAB has made a more deliberate effort to combine product and brand within the same creative this time around. This unified creative and media halo approach is driving stronger campaign results across the bank, according to the team.

The big four bank has also moved on from a house being chased by an iconic Australian Kingswood to stampeding baby furniture and a wild, bucking cot in a store, reflecting business customers. There’s also NAB bankers within the mix aiding customers to manage finances in the midst of perceived chaos.

There’s the name of the campaign too – ‘Wrangle Your Money’ – although we note the ‘More than Money’ tagline still firmly appears alongside the NAB logo.  Then there’s recognition that dour consumer sentiment and heightened financial stress off the back of interest rate rises and the cost-of-living crisis has led many to adopt a more considered position around how they spend every dollar.

According to the latest NAB Australian Wellbeing Survey Q4 2023, financial stress is at its highest peak since mid-2016, with one in three Australians believing they’re worse off than 12 months ago. It’s notably acute across the 30-49-year-old bracket – those more likely to have younger families and bigger mortgages. All this has made cost-of-living the biggest contributor to consumer stress. What’s more, 77 per cent want to save but many are concerned with their ability to do so, NAB’s survey showed.

“There is no doubt the past 12 months or so have been tough with the cost-of-living pressures, but we’ve seen Australians build their resilience and they are telling us they feel better prepared to adapt by reprioritising their spending,” Brailsford comments. “What we’re seeing is Australians continue to adjust their spending around what matters most to them.

“This thinking around our role in helping customers manage their money, was an inspiration for the campaign. It’s the fact that the world is seemingly increasingly wild, along with our desire to reassure customers that we are here to support them.”

Even with the nuances, NAB has otherwise clearly reiterated its commitment once more to the ‘More Than Money’ proposition. And that’s because it’s paying off in the long term. Currently, consideration for NAB is at its highest point since tracking began over a decade ago, with last year’s campaign playing a key role in achieving that. Long-term brand consideration has grown by over 4 per cent, more than double that of its closest competitors, Brailsford claims.

One of its real strengths is the flex. Its breadth has meant we can reflect the changing needs of our customers and that has been critical when you think about how much the world has changed today versus 2016.

Sue Brailsford, Head of Group Brand, National Australia Bank

Brand flexing to reach Gen Z

A tailored approach to Gen Z is another element paying dividends, with double-digit growth in brand consideration apparent. It’s directly fed into a 20 per cent media efficiency gain and record campaign recognition levels.

“The creative naturally leant itself to appeal to younger audiences in its Marvel-esque style, but importantly we activated the campaign in key media channels relevant to our younger audiences,” Brailsford says.

NAB is again proactively tailoring creative to Gen Z this year, flexing its core idea into a bespoke Gen Z version of ‘Wrangle your money’. This sub-campaign launches at the same time as the broader reaching campaign across, TikTok, Snapchat, Spotify, YouTube and uni panels.

“Over the past year or so, we’ve been really testing which channels work best for us in reaching this audience, and of course it also depends on the message and creative idea. But for the most part, we’ve found social and digital radio are an important part of the mix,” Brailsford says. “As a result, we were able to effectively cut through to Gen Z – as validated by the double-digit growth in long-term Gen Z brand consideration we’ve seen.”

For Brailsford, a unified campaign that responds to different customer segment needs but in a way that is cohesive is a critical piece of why ‘More than Money’ works.

“This not only makes sense from a customer perspective but allows us to find efficiencies in production and media investment,” Brailsford says. “Our success will be measured by how it resonates with our customers, campaign recognition and attribute metrics – along with overall brand awareness and consideration performance.”

Brailsford says the team has seen how effective a connected creative platform across brand, business and home loans has been.

“It’s enabled us to deliver outsized results, delivering record levels of campaign recognition across the enterprise as well as increasing our media efficiency by 20 per cent, and at a time where inflation is driving media prices up,” she says. NAB uses multivariant regression modelling to measure media performance. Brailsford cites the 20 per cent improvement across home loans, Business and Brand media since the latest campaign versions launched in April 2022.

Last year’s ‘More than Money’ campaign achieved the highest-ever campaign recognition for NAB’s business film asset and the best recognition in five years for its home loan film asset. This was achieved by having connected campaigns in market at the same time.

All this was a major consideration for the new campaign. “It’s why we chose to so closely tie our new brand and business TVCs together this time round – to the point where they are both set inside the same store,” she adds.

For Brailsford, ‘More than Money’ has created distinct positioning for NAB as the bank that understands there’s more to life than money.

“It’s more than just a marketing line, it’s a reflection on who we are, how we want to show up in supporting our customers through what’s happening in their lives and businesses and where we are going with our brand and business strategy,” she says. “One of its real strengths is the flex. Its breadth has meant we can reflect the changing needs of our customers and that has been critical when you think about how much the world has changed today versus 2016.

Today, people want to feel supported by their bank so they can be more confident with their money and decision making. That sense of partnership and understanding of the real issues people face beyond money is so important, especially when it’s matched with genuine expertise, leading products, and technology. It’s a combination on which great banking relationships are formed.”