Since 2008, ING and VIM Group have been working together on a variety of large projects, including a rebrand, the revitalisation and digitalisation of the ING brand, as well as global harmonisation of the brand organisation.
The client's challenge
Like many other major players in the financial sector, ING has transformed over the last decade into a ‘digital first’ global financial institution. It’s a bank that enables people and companies to realise their own ideas for a better future, no matter how big or small they may be. The originally Dutch bank underwent many changes to its organisation and brand, as well as its strategy to the market. When redefining their services and the brand image, it’s current brand promise was created to position ING closer to the consumer: ‘Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and business’.
The collaboration between ING and VIM Group dates back to the Postbank period, but in 2013 VIM Group were brought onboard again to support the revitalisation and digitalisation of the ING brand as a result of their repositioning. Over the years, this collaboration has grown. The support of VIM has enabled for the creation of a brand architecture program which aims to merge all local ING brands into one brand, while ensuring a coherent image of the ING brand worldwide.
A new project was started to centralise the design and production process of ING payment cards for greater uniformity, efficiency and cost savings. VIM Group also provided project management for the harmonisation of ING bank branches. The result is new guidelines for both the interior and exterior of the new offices, and these are being implemented worldwide.
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Revitalisation and digitalisation of the ING brand
An Impact Analysis helped decide the basis of the revitalisation and digitalisation of the ING brand. This analysis provided insight into the financial, organisational and visual consequences of the revitalisation of online and offline brand touch points. Based on this, various implementation scenarios were elaborated on and VIM Group guided the gradual implementation of the new brand over a period of three years. A flexible set of brand building blocks were used to create coherence within the ING brand.
Worldwide centralisation of brand architecture
A large international program was created with the purpose to grow ING into one uniform brand worldwide. Prior to this, there were several different brands (ING Direct, ING DiBa, ING Bank, etc.) and each country had its own brand touch points, systems, tools, websites and apps. This meant it was important to fully map the complex brand landscape before the start of the program. The scenarios, budgets and lead times were then determined, a thorough project plan was drawn up, and project organisation set up. VIM Group specialists supervised the change programme from start to finish and managed the progress.
Coherence, efficiency and cost savings in the ING payment cards
For ING’s debit cards, the aim was to create more worldwide uniformity as all countries had their own set of card designs and there were no central guidelines. This led to a lack of brand coherence and inefficiency in the production process. VIM Group were asked to optimise and organise this process for all countries in which ING operate: from design, portfolio harmonisation, to production guidance and implementation in the countries.
Our approach involved setting up a project team with stakeholders from all countries where ING is present, and all decisions were made by experts. The number of card designs was reduced from one hundred to seven main variants worldwide, and they all strongly related to ING’s brand values. In addition, the number of suppliers was reduced from seven to four. The project involved intensive cooperation with purchasing and resulted in significant cost savings.
The ING brand is continuously evolving. Realising a coherent image of the ING brand worldwide, taking into account the diversity in the markets and cultural differences, is an important objective for us. VIM Group's brand specialists support us to ensure that all these processes run as efficiently as possible and that has provided us with excellent results for years.Nanne Bos, Head of Global Brand Management at ING
Rebranding interior and exterior locations and offices
In addition to creating a more coherent brand experience, ING has also developed a new concept for an ING branch. Hospitality is central in its design and service, with the starting point being that personal contact is important in times of digitalisation. VIM Group provides project management for the development of the guidelines for the interior and exterior of this new concept. At the moment these guidelines are being tested with pilot offices in seven retail countries. Based on the findings in the pilot phase, the guidelines are being upgraded and rolled out globally. The starting point is that the guidelines are dynamic and evolve over time on the basis of new insights and techniques.
A new way of working
Recently, a global operation was started within ING to better prepare the organisation even better for the future: the implementation of ‘One Agile Way of Working’. The organisation is gradually transforming to have a new, agile way of working in tribes and squads. At the same time, the departments (marketing) communications and brand management were redesigned into so-called Centres of Expertise (CoEs), which are also responsible for the brand. The implementation of these CoEs is managed by VIM Group.
All of these projects make a significant contribution to creating a coherent brand experience across countries. ING is being transformed step by step into one global brand with a standard set of central digital and offline brand touch points such as the website, app, payment cards and bank branches.
Centres of Expertise allow the ING brand to be more centrally controlled. This means that the brand organisation has become more efficient and considerable savings have been made, for example in the area of production costs. In addition, processes have become more professional, clearer and flexible. The payment card project has even become an inspiration for the centralisation strategy within various ING projects: one bank, one image, shared processes.