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How risk management is crucial to building trust at bank brand ME

Authentic and honest communications backed by brand-differentiating risk management are crucial elements for brands that want to build trust with customers, according to Melody Townsend, GM of Network and Product Marketing at banking brand ME.


She said there were four key pillars in establishing trust at ME bank:

  • Risk management
  • Technology and data
  • Compelling content, and
  • Authenticity.

Risk management done well can be a brand differentiator, said Townsend. She was speaking at the CXO Leaders Summit in Melbourne, an invitation-only event sponsored by Simple that examines the nexus of the marketing function and the customer experience.

ME bank scrutinises every piece of marketing communications that is customer-facing before it goes to market in an internal twice-weekly communications forum.

The forum’s primary purpose is to safeguard the look, feel and voice of the ME brand.

It also focuses on identifying broken processes by looking for indications the business process has fallen down that might then lead to negative customer experiences, Townsend said.

“Trust is an outcome of promises fulfilled,” she told the CXO audience.

She said being “cheeky, cool, clever and clean” was no impediment to having detailed marketing risk management and compliance processes at ME that included scrutinising creative and ensuring the bank’s social media team worked closely with corporate affairs.

She cited the launch of the ‘Snag’ card — “a new debit card that reimburses customers on sausage sizzle purchases” — which  saw ME bank newsjack the controversy last year about putting the onions under the sausage in a Bunnings sausage sandwich as an example of balancing that cheekiness with being responsive and compliant by speaking in the ‘no bullshit’ ME brand voice.

The role of technology and data in building brand trust included delivering customer-centric innovation and also protecting customer data.

But it presented new challenges. “Marketers are overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels open to them,” Townsend said.

ME is weeks away from launching a new marketing campaign in the wake of Australia’s Royal Commission into Banking, the recommendations for which were recently handed to the Government.

She said while the campaign would not focus on taking pot shots at competitors among the big four banks that were the target of damaging claims during last year’s public hearings, it was an opportunity for ME to differentiate itself.

ME strives to live its brand values across the organisation, Ms Townsend said.

These are: go to the moon; love monday; ride the subway; have a swing; and stay hungry.

They have now become part of the vernacular, she said, and are aligned with the customer promise of ‘Don’t bullshit me’, which includes being honest, using real language in marketing communications, and being apologetic if something goes wrong.

“This is the role of marketing,” Ms Townsend said.

She said ensuring brand consistency was observed at the customer-facing level in call centres was “a challenge” that required a lot of ongoing training, monitoring and feedback.

Meanwhile she said the “data is in” on artificial intelligence, which is being adopted at a rapid rate, and brands needed to come to terms with how they incorporated it in their business.

Melody Townsend spoke at the CXO Leaders Summit. Catch Simple’s tweets from the event or follow us on TwitterReach out if you would like to know more about how Simple’s intelligent marketing platform can help your brand reduce marketing complexity and translate your brand vision into seamless, profitable customer experiences.

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