Stanbic IBTC and its Financial Supermarket Proposition

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    Stanbic IBTC’s new television commercial is a study in creativity and directness. In this piece, Raheem Akingbolu examines the TVC, highlighting the key aspects and messaging and how they stack up against Stanbic IBTC’s brand essence and value proposition

    The new television commercial (TVC) from Stanbic IBTC is a compelling watch. It has the hallmark of a great TVC: short, roughly 30 seconds; it is visually artistic; it is simple yet profound; and the creative use of allegory is outstanding.

    The talking head, single scene format employed by the commercial is particularly effective for ease of appreciation as there are no ambiguities in presentation and messaging. This, no doubt, is very useful for brand positioning and image projection.

    The TVC catalogues a series of faces representing society’s broad socio-economic spectrum: from the young to the old, male and female, student and worker; the well-heeled and the upwardly mobile and to the retired. There is a smart play on the inherent features that define the heroes of the commercial using the direct second-person personal pronoun ‘You’ as a technique to underscore these features. As the faces scroll by, we hear a voice reeling out their unique qualities: ‘you are beautiful’; ‘you are extraordinary’; ‘you are talented’; ‘you are dauntless’; ‘you are iconic’; ‘you are intelligent’; ‘you are strong’; ‘you are determined’; etc. And then the bold promise by Stanbic IBTC: Whoever. Wherever. Whenever, we are here to enable you to be you.

    By projecting the faces that are representative of the different demographics in the society, Stanbic IBTC’s message in the TVC is simple: we are a financial institution that proffers financial solutions to everybody, irrespective of the stage of or position in life you are. Again, this is Stanbic IBTC reiterating the fact that it is a total solutions organisation not an elitist company as sometimes erroneously perceived by some Nigerians.

    Perhaps, with this latest TVC, the elitist perception should be forever dispelled. The last two TVC’s had similarly addressed this fact. For instance, the most enduring element of the previous TVC was the scene where commuters tried to get the engine of a Volkswagen ‘faragon’ commercial bus painted in the yellow and black stripes of Lagos commercial buses, popularly called Danfo, to start by pushing the bus. The Danfo is the commercial vehicle of choice for the masses in Lagos state and indeed in many other parts of Nigeria. The use of Danfo is symbolic of the mainstream, associated with most people, and recognised by all.

    Another very significant element in the previous TVC that captured the imagination was the girl hawking her wares close to the Danfo, impervious to associated risks. Hawking in motor parks and on the streets is a common sight in many parts of the country. The Danfo and the hawker were brilliant shots that spoke to the mainstream and signified the growing accessibility of the brand by many more people, even in socio-economic demographics that are several steps below the top-end of the market.

    In similar fashion, the latest TVC ingeniously exploited the traits Nigerians are known for such as determination, strength, intelligence, hard work, self-belief, pragmatism, etc, and smartly tie them in with Stanbic IBTC’s enduring brand essence, which speaks to reliability, competence, expertise across the financial services spectrum, professionalism, stability, innovation, quality service, financial strength, excellent management, and ethical practices.

    The new TVC is simply Stanbic IBTC’s latest pitch to Nigerians that it is an end-to-end financial institution that has different services and solutions that match their different needs at different life stages. And that it would go to great lengths to ensure they actualise their dreams and achieve success. The promise is this: “You can be rest assured that from your first day in school till you want to pass on your wealth to your loved ones, Stanbic IBTC is able to and will always have your back and enables you to thrive.”

    To address the question of an upper class image as a mitigating factor against customer acquisition, Stanbic IBTC continues to show through its product lines, branch network and other touchpoints that it is an enabler of people, businesses, the economy and it is more than just a bank. And as far as its banking proposition goes, it has demonstrated a strong play in retail banking; many of its branches are situated within or around markets, close to the masses. Some of its products are targeted at the retail end of the market. For instance, the Personal Asset Acquisition Scheme loan and the SME Quick Loan, which are unsecured facilities, have made it possible for people who ordinarily would not access financing to get credit facilities. Its payment cards and mobile banking offerings are available for all classes of customers. The financial institution says it continues to strengthen its brand image and let people know and understand that there is more to Stanbic IBTC than just pensions and investment banking, and that it is a universal financial services institution.

    With solutions that cover the entire spectrum of financial intermediation, the new TVC addresses its target audience. Stanbic IBTC’s pension arm is the leading pension fund administrator in the country, with over 1.6 million customers and asset under management in excess of N2.5 trillion, a major milestone under the contributory pension scheme; its corporate and investment banking unit is regarded as the leading investment bank in the country. It recently midwifed the issuance of a N50 billion commercial paper by Dangote Cement, the largest such issuance by a Nigerian business. To underscore its leadership, the bank won the prestigious Euromoney Awards as the Best Investment Bank in Nigeria in 2018. Added to this is the phenomenal growth in its footprint across the country. From just a handful of branches about seven years ago, Stanbic IBTC has a branch network of over 177 currently, ATM points of close to 600 and POS deployment in their hundreds, making its services and products available to Nigerians, well beyond the commercial city centres.

    Perhaps the most significant element in the TVC is the reiteration of the assurance that Stanbic IBTC is a partner in progress. One that understands who you are, can reach you where you are and is available to provide bespoke solutions any time you need such. The heroes of the commercial were all beaming with smiles, with their faces exuding satisfaction and contentment. Again, this is a clever allusion to how Stanbic IBTC makes you feel by giving you a chance to prosper.

    Another aspect of the TVC that speaks to what Stanbic IBTC embodies is the use of the images of the elderly people, who are ageing gracefully and in comfort. The allusion to age is a metaphor for experience, resilience, stability and competence, which aptly describe Stanbic IBTC. The institution is a member of the 155-year-old Standard Bank Group of South Africa, the largest financial institution in Africa with operations in over 20 African countries. So, Stanbic IBTC is not only able to draw on this unique pedigree to provide sterling services, it also, through the link, is able to provide its clients access to markets across Africa and beyond. The young and youthful faces in the commercial speak to the brand’s nimbleness and innovativeness while the elderly faces address stability and experience.

    Without a suite of solutions to meet the needs of people in different socio-economic brackets (market women, artisans, farmers, petty traders, etc), the whoever, wherever, whenever promise and the overall messaging in the TVC would have been implausible. However, Stanbic IBTC has a bouquet of solutions for everyone. The financial institution says its mobile money service is the first step towards bringing people in the informal sector into the formal financial services system. The service, with its low entry requirements and minimal documentation, unlike the documentation required for opening a regular bank account, will readily appeal to these sets of people. They, in any case, already own mobile phones, the fundamental requirement for opening and operating a mobile money account.

    Stanbic IBTC’s well-regarded pension, investment and advisory services, positioned to meet the needs of a highly aspirational group of people (Nigerians are known to be quite ambitious) in the different socio-economic brackets, will appeal to the people represented in the TVC. According to Stanbic IBTC, “Our model is based on a financial inclusive strategy. We are keen on targeting clients across the societal spectrum. Our aspiration is to bank everyone across the socio-economic spectrum, all demography and target groups without any exclusion.”

    Overall, it is a well-produced commercial, encompassing some of the distinctions that define Nigerians and which help situate the Stanbic IBTC brand as youthful yet experienced, innovative yet stable, knowledgeable yet willing to understand clients’ needs, and a provider of bespoke solutions without compromising quality. The commercial reinforces the Stanbic IBTC message as a one-stop, all-inclusive financial services partner that helps individuals and businesses to grow from vision to reality and to further success. This is all encapsulated in its famous tagline – Moving Forward.