Creating A Killer Brand Personality (see how one bank has nailed it)
I’ve a confession to make. I’m sort of, kind of, just a teensy-weensy bit obsessed with ME Bank. Ok, I’m totally obsessed with ME Bank.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds (trust me). You see, ME Bank is not your average bank.
ME Bank is only the coolest bank going around.
Sure, there have been some contenders over the years. Some banks are trying to shake things up a little. Like Bankwest with its kooky advertising. Anyone remember the squirrel? Or that flower?
But ME Bank? It’s streets ahead of the rest. Miles ahead. Leagues ahead. Whatever measure of distance you want to use – it’s ahead by a mighty long way.
So what’s so cool about this bank? It’s killer brand personality.
ME BANK’S KILLER BRAND PERSONALITY
So how would I describe the ME Bank brand personality?
It’s fun, modern, quirky, and humorous. You could probably come up with several other appropriate descriptors, but these are the ones that stand out for me.
And what makes it so stellar?
This is a company that knows its customers and is more than happy to talk to them in their language. It eschews almost every norm that the banking industry seems to feel compelled to adhere to.
The bank is so true to its brand – it’s refreshing. Here is a company that knows who it is, what it stands for, and who its customers are.
Because I’m a copywriter, it’s the company’s words that have obviously drawn me in. But what’s kept my attention beyond their brilliant copy, is the way its brand personality is clearly lived and breathed in everything it does.
Not only does the bank have a great name (ME!). But the name lends itself to a lot of fun wordplay – and the bank rarely misses an opportunity (which you’ll see in many examples I use below).
It also has a penchant for puns, rhyming and amusing wordplay. All winners, in my book!
HOW THE COPY BRINGS THE BRAND PERSONALITY TO LIFE
ME Bank has a series of sliders at the top of the home page. Each one is reflective of the tone of voice the brand uses.
“App, app and away” – fun play on a well-known saying.
“Kissable home loan rates” – they’re good, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to kiss them! Still, it gets you to take notice of the rates.
The Call To Actions
They’re short and make clever use of the name – choose ME, click ME, meet ME, switch ME.
Even the CTA for its social icons sticks to the format – follow ME.
Product headlines on the homepage are short and on-brand
“Do some good every day” – for a credit card with charity [donations]
“A credit card with nothing to hide” – frank, the credit card! The name starts to make sense when you see that headline.
Annual fee: “that’s zip, zero, zilch” – making it absolutely clear there are no fees!
Card lock: “misplaced frank?” – not, ‘lost your card?’ but ‘misplaced frank?’ It makes it personal and a little amusing.
Online savings account
“…This account gives you the goods…” – gives you the goods! Nice use of colloquial language.
And I love the engagement ring icon for the commitment section!
I could go on and on because the website is a veritable treasure trove of copy that embodies the killer brand personality. But I’ll let you visit the site and have fun with it yourself.
Just take a look at this letter I received when I became a customer. It’s brimming with lively copy that continues to reinforce the brand personality.
Where most companies would just have their logo, ME has “from + logo” (i.e. “from ME”). Again, not missing an opportunity to play on the name.
The language throughout is simple, concise, colloquial, and modern.
“A colourful hello…” – the card, buck, comes in four colours that you can choose from so the opening ties into that product feature.“
“Autograph the back…” – playing on a colloquial phrase that Australian’s sometimes use for an everyday layperson’s signature.
“buck almost stops here” – clever play on a well-known phrase ‘the buck stops with me.’
“rock’n’roll” – modern language, and something many Australians would say (or be familiar with) to indicate something is good.
Then, the card (buck) thanks me! ME Bank does its darndest to make buck seem like a person.
And on the back of the letter – “buck the trend with ME”. Yet more clever wordplay.
I’m sure if my grandfather received this letter, he’d worry about what kind of institution was looking after his money. He’s obviously not the target market!
When I got this letter, I was pleased that the fun copy I’d seen on the website was also in the direct customer communications. And I was amused. ME Bank is talking to me on a level I completely relate to.
ME Bank goes for some rather original product names.
frank is the credit card. Of course.
And buck is the debit MasterCard. Make sense.
The product names reinforce the idea that this is not your traditional bank.
SOCIAL MEDIA (specifically, Facebook)
ME Bank’s Facebook page just might be my favourite Facebook page ever (big call, I know).
The description sums it up nicely. “Making beautiful banking… win cool stuff and make ME laugh”. It tells you straight-up – it likes to laugh and so you can assume the bank’s going to try hard to make you laugh.
It’s all very un-bank like
In fact, you don’t find a whole lot of posts about banking on its social feed. And when you do, it’s usually funny. ME Bank takes a lighthearted approach to banking. Which is a smart strategy given Australia’s favourite pastime is bank bashing.
ME Bank is like the anti-bank. And you see this right throughout its social media.
As in, like me!
The many Es used in “like” is reflective of the habit people have these days to exaggerate words in text messages and social posts.
And the sub-head: “go on, you know you want to” – all the copy is on-brand.
Range of posts
The range of posts that ME Bank serves up are incredibly diverse.
It’s reflective of everyday people – we all have a variety of interests. And because of social media, we’re probably at least aware of many things not particularly in our sphere of interest (like when celebs are walking the Oscars red carpet).
In ME Bank’s Facebook timeline there are things like movie reviews, book recommendations, competitions, a staff member playing the ukulele for World Ukulele Day, holiday posts (Easter, Christmas), and the Oscars red carpet, to name but a few.
Timely, yet humorous fake advertising
Need I say more? And just take a look at that microcopy. Even more humour injected into it.
“ME is in no way associated with or endorsed by Star Wars, or anyone from any galaxies far, far away.”
Frank7 (iPhone 7 announcement day)
This one was especially effective because the post is an autoplay video with water being poured over the card. And we all know how popular video is on social!
With cards named cim, chloe, courtney, and cris. As if that wasn’t funny enough, the microcopy wins the day again. And also, they kind of had to point out it was a joke because surely there was someone who fell for it for at least a second.
“This faux product is in no way endorsed by and ME is in no way associated with anyone with a name starting with ‘K’. If you’re still reading this, you probably know we’re joking. But if we weren’t, we know you’d totally want one.”
Modern, colloquial language
“YOLO” – to present financial stats in an engaging way. Also… $300 on cheese? I love cheese, but who could spend that kind of cash on cheese in one go?
This sure gets your attention. An interesting spin on facts to grab attention and drive engagement with the post.
References to pop-culture
Such as The Notebook (for Notebook Day!) and Love Actually.
And speaking of DAYS…
It looks like ME Bank loves to take advantage of days dedicated to some cause or object. And the company ties it all in with a competition for enhanced engagement. Smart!
“We’re taking some ME time” – another play on the name.
“to eat chocolate as well” – also see the caption with image. “Hopping back to it on Saturday read to chat”. A nice pun and modern colloquialisms (“back to it”, “ready to chat”)
Social Media Advertising
“Skinny flat white with a home loan to go”
This ad also plays on two Australian cafe icons: the flat white and smashed avo in the photo!
And of course, it’s an appeal to our love affair with coffee.
“Have the loan, keep your lifestyle, with ME” – more wordplay on the name.
“with ME” gives it a real personal vibe. Like it’s just you and me, just us two people. Not you and a huge faceless corporation or an evil bank just out to take your money.
BUT WAIT, IT’S NOT ALL ROSY
There’s just one little let-down…
The bank’s technical outage or something’s gone wrong messages. They’re reminiscent of all such messages – you could easily confuse it for any bank.
I reckon this is another perfect opportunity for ME Bank to show off their winning (and clearly marvellous) personality.
CREATING A KILLER BRAND PERSONALITY
It’s not going to be for everyone. But that’s precisely the point of branding. You’re trying to attract your dream customers and repel everyone else.
Some people might want a serious, traditional banking experience. That’s fine. There are plenty of banks out there for those people. And they’re not the kind of people ME Bank wants as customers anyway.
So what can you take away from ME Bank’s shining example?
Embrace your brand personality. Live it and breathe it everywhere. Consistency is key.
And remember, it’s your killer brand personality that is your greatest differentiator. When you nail it, it’s doing the filtering job for you (attracting and repelling who you do and don’t want).