How does a medium-sized bank achieve strong sustainable growth in a flat market? By repositioning itself as a primary bank, and not as a niche product specialist.

A banking client was experiencing growing pains. They were not so big that their size ensured they made it onto consumer’s consideration list, nor were they new enough for consumers to see them as a challenger. They were the archetypal teenager brand looking to grow up and be taken seriously by the market.

Interviews with customers and non-customers, and a review of past research showed that consumers considered the bank as their secondary bank. The bank with which they had an affair. They used for keeping things separate, or because of a one-off great deal. Our research showed that for the bank to grow, they needed consumers to see the bank a providing for all their current banking needs, and likely to also meet their future needs.

To know how our client could be a primary bank, we needed to know exactly what to offer and how to communicate that offer. To do this, we went wide and deep in our analysis. We analysed historical brand and category tracking data to see what products and services consumers had with their primary bank. We then conducted surveys and analysis that determined what consumers needed to switch primary banks.  Once we knew what to offer we then followed up with qualitative research to uncover the barriers to changing and how they needed to communicate their offer and the bank’s overall positioning to motivate the switch.

Based on our recommendations our client made significant changes to their product line and to create a link between these products that made becoming a primary bank customer significantly better than a customer that cherry-picked and rate chased offers. Our insights also led to changes in how the bank communicated with customers. The result was sustained and above industry growth.