Michèle Bouquet-Kumble reframes banking brand narratives

TBWA Singapore's Senior Strategy Director outlines the new frontier in financial sector branding.

Consumer needs and preferences are rapidly evolving, thus, jolting the financial sector to rethink traditional branding strategies.

Michèle Bouquet-Kumble, senior strategy director at TBWA Singapore, discussed the vital shifts in branding strategies that are shaping the banking industry at the recent Asian Banking & Finance Summit in Singapore.

Banking brands, according to Bouquet-Kumble, often stumble upon three cardinal pitfalls during branding or rebranding initiatives.

"The first one is really around the lack, I would say, of a clearly expressed vision to position the brand in consumers' minds," Bouquet-Kumble noted during the dialogue.

A clearly articulated vision is foundational in eliminating consumer confusion, fostering a strong, unified brand image.

The second pitfall, as highlighted by Bouquet-Kumble, is a tendency to focus on short-term results instead of nurturing long-term strategies that require "incremental and continuous efforts."

This shift towards a more enduring approach allows brands to build trust and solidify their presence in the market over time.

Through the looking glass

Furthermore, Bouquet-Kumble pointed out that while banks believe they know their customers, they often view them solely from a financial standpoint.

This narrow perspective fails to capture the multifaceted lives that consumers lead outside the banking sphere, which is a vital aspect of connecting with them on a deeper level. 

"To understand people and relate to them, we need to look beyond how they bank," she emphasised.

Expanding on TBWA's innovative approach, Bouquet-Kumble explained the essence of 'disruption' in building a client's brand.

"Disruption is actually a way of thinking. It's about using creativity to solve business and human challenges," she shared. This process involves an intensive analysis of various factors including the brand's business model, products, services, and the macro-cultural forces that shape new behaviors.

By identifying and challenging established conventions, TBWA aids clients in carving a vision for disruptive growth, grounded in insightful strategic platforms.

When asked about the collaborative process with financial institutions, Bouquet-Kumble acknowledged that many a time, the journey of collaboration aids in unraveling what the client genuinely aspires for their brand's image.

Creative power

Creative agencies like TBWA play a crucial role here, intertwining the financial world with an understanding of the broader audience landscape to craft narratives that are both "memorable and relevant."

Reflecting on her work with Standard Chartered Bank, Bouquet-Kumble underscored the importance of an evolving brand narrative to sustain consumer interest and engagement. This involves taking known brand principles and adding relevant dimensions to resonate with varying segments of the bank's audience, all while maintaining a cohesive brand message.

A crucial part of this strategy is connecting the brand's actions globally to topics that resonate universally with people.

"These were all topics that people can find appealing and what was really important is that we were working with clients who understand the power of brand building," she remarked.

Bouquet-Kumble undoubtedly paints a promising trajectory for the world of banking brand narratives, steering them towards greater relatability and deeper connections with their clientele.

With an approach that marries financial understanding with broader cultural insights, the industry is set to witness a revolutionary shift in how banks position themselves in the minds of consumers.

As the industry keenly anticipates more disruptive work from Bouquet-Kumble and her team at TBWA Singapore, the journey towards reshaping banking brand narratives seems to be well on its way, fostering a future where banks not only understand but also resonate profoundly with their diverse clientele.

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