ABN AMRO is a well-known brand, but it has also been unclear for a long time what we stand for as a brand. I think we are much better at that now. It is, of course, a long process and we must continue to achieve our objectives in practice, but we are on the right track. For example, entering into new partnerships. Together with VIM Group we have started a process to see how we can best position our partnerships. Consider for example Geldmaat, a more sustainable and efficient bank-independent network of ATMs.
We are familiar with Tikkie, an ABN AMRO brand, but in terms of branding it very different. Has this been a conscious decision?
EB: Innovation, speed and growth were paramount at the time that Tikkie was born, so it was a conscious decision to view Tikkie as a kind of “start-up brand”. In the meantime, Tikkie has grown enormously in brand awareness and it is interesting from a brand point of view to bring this back to the ABN AMRO family. 40% of people know that Tikkie is from ABN AMRO. We are trying to increase this percentage through a commercial that is currently running. We also want to bring Tikkie to the business market. This autumn, we will decide how we will deal with Tikkie’s branding in the future. That also applies to a number of other initiatives such as New10 and Franx that were created in the same way.
Can you explain what the ABN AMRO brand landscape looks like?
EB: Under the supervision of VIM Group, we are working on a new proposal to simplify our brand architecture based on a “one-brand strategy”, meaning that all our products and services come under the ABN AMRO brand. When new initiatives are started, we deal with them very differently than before. This does not mean that exceptions cannot be made for the right reasons, but as a brand department we are involved sooner so that we can make the right decisions.You can of course invest a great deal in your brand, but this must contribute to the objectives that you have as a bank. If you want to get KPIs moving, you need to communicate more consistently with your brand. We are currently working hard on this. We closely monitor progress by reporting on brand results on a monthly basis.
What are your biggest brand challenges?
EB: My biggest challenge is the culture of the bank: ABN AMRO is an entrepreneurial organisation and our employees have a lot of knowledge and are used to being decisive. New initiatives are started quickly and made successful. This benefits innovation and short-term results, but can at the same time cause fragmentation. Sometimes our people forget to think and act from a larger, shared goal. And that also means that not everything we do fits in with our strategy and purpose. Ultimately, we want everything we do to contribute to our long-term goals in the right way.
How do you ensure that the brand is structurally on the agenda within the organisation?
EB: We are paying more and more attention to that at a strategic, tactical and operational level. At the strategic level, I am mainly talking about the attention the brand receives in the boardroom. Every quarter, the Board receives insight into how our brand is doing.