More than just a cosmetic update
The brand’s transformation is more than just an aesthetic update. Being acutely aware of its influential role as a global financial organisation, Chris says Rabobank believes that this revitalising of its cooperative heritage remains relevant today. “Maybe more than ever”, he says.
“It’s not just a cosmetic change. We are revisiting what makes Rabobank what it is — what our belief system is, how relevant it is to the world we live in today, and how we can apply it to today’s challenges. We are not a company of shareholders; we are not under pressure to meet profit caps or restructure to deliver shareholder values. We are a cooperative. Each local bank reserves a corporate dividend to give back to local communities and members. We have member councils that decide where this money goes and what they believe could best benefit from these funds. And ′cooperative′ pretty much sums it up. It has a rich connotation — it’s all about collaborating; it puts a very human approach to the issues and challenges we are all facing today. It invokes a greater sense of community and focuses on the long-term collective impact. ′Cooperative′ perfectly encapsulated who we are, what we are doing, and what we still want to do for generations to come”, Chris says.
The demand for more accountability, particularly for financial institutions as powerful as Rabobank, is not lost on the organisation either.
Chris says, “We need to recognise that people don’t particularly like banks and are critical. They demand real action. Even companies that have enjoyed stellar reputations over the last couple of years have suffered. Everyone’s trust rating is declining because people think big companies are not moving fast enough on important issues and that big corporations are just looking after themselves. And unfortunately, we are one of these ‘big corporations.’ That is why we put as much energy into real, actual work. In my perspective, too, all this brand building is just PR and improving corporate image when it does not come with real action or if you don’t work with real people.”
For that, Chris says Rabobank is flexing its muscles on work that actually makes a difference in the world.
He explains: “It’s a huge responsibility to be in a position where you can fund the right people and have the power to help transform businesses and industries into something more sustainable. There are movements for change where we believe we have a larger role to play as a brand and an organisation. We have a bigger responsibility to help advance these causes and create solutions that lead to collective long-term benefits. More importantly, we have the power to say no to certain things, and we are approaching these difficult decisions with our cooperative mindset.”