Elevating perceptions of a global financial institution

ICBC (Asia) Private Bank – Brand development
Branding
Identity
Logo
Strategy
Systems CampaignCommunications

A world class identity for the global sector leader

Private Bank of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited serves the banking needs of high net worth individuals, their families and their businesses.

The company is a division of ICBC, the world’s largest financial institution by assets under management.

ICBC (Asia) Private Bank offers premium global services on par with the elite European private banks. Like many large Chinese institutions, the company prioritises business fundamentals before slick façades. Instead of focusing on image, their teams have always worked hard to make wealth easy for their customers.

This idea became the foundation of their brand.

The bank’s new positioning phrase accurately conveys the value they bring to HNW individuals and their families

Value created

Elevated positioning – The rebrand paves the way to position the bank as China’s premium global private bank with a world class approach to service and investment.

Amplified customer value – The bank offers customers a much wider range of integrated daily banking services than most private banks. This is expressed in the positioning phrase.

Strong creative platform – The rebrand gives ICBC (Asia) Private Bank a solid direction to develop strong, relevant communications campaigns.

Benefits highlighted – The distinctive design language includes elements derived from the ICBC logo, and a colour palette distinctly different from other private banks to aid recognition.

The old logo on the left was difficult to apply and inaccurately represented the world class services provided by the financial institution
“We have been very impressed working with Stepworks. They are sharply focused on our business needs, have a great eye for design, and they always deliver professional account servicing. We value Stepworks as our trustworthy long-term partner.”

Emily Liu, Head of Marketing and Communications
Private Banking Department, ICBC (Asia) Limited

Branding Campaign
Activation
Advertising
Digital
Marketing
Strategy Communications

A hard working financial services advertising campaign

Private Banking Department, ICBC (Asia) Limited launched their refreshed brand with an advertising campaign.

Private Banking Department, ICBC (Asia) Limited launched their refreshed brand with an advertising campaign. Objectives included raising the profile of the bank, highlighting their services and introducing the new brand. The campaign featured their new positioning phrase, “We work hard to make wealth easy.”

The aspirational campaign ran in Chinese and English and ran in various channels to reach its tightly defined audience of HNW individuals with assets in China who sought global access.

In many ways the campaign demonstrated the leadership of the bank by moving away from traditional representations of wealth often favoured by mainland China financial institutions.

Value created

Peer group leadership – By taking mainland China financial advertising in new directions, the bank asserted its status as global leader.

Benefits highlighted – The advertising campaign focused on the benefits of a relationship with ICBC (Asia) Private Bank.

Advertising like this works because even incidental exposure to a brand helps to generate positive feelings towards it
A core requirement was to develop a campaign which would work in a variety of channels
BrandingCampaign Communications
Corporate
Presentation deck

Leveraging a branding investment with consistency

It’s difficult to quantify the damage inconsistency does to a brand. It seems simple enough – just get people to apply things the same way each time. Why is this so hard to implement in practice?

Science suggests that the NIH cognitive bias (Not Invented Here) might be at the root of a designer’s urge to reinvent a brand. NIH is “Aversion to contact with or use of products, research, standards, or knowledge developed outside a group”. It’s apparently a form of tribalism.

Clear brand guidelines, diligently policed are the solution. These help world leading organisations such as ICBC (Asia) Private Bank achieve the consistency essential to project an image of premium value.

Consistent application across business cards is surprisingly difficult to achieve, and impossible without effective brand management tools

Value created

Consistent quality – Concise, thorough brand guidelines, inline with the group brand, help the world’s largest financial institution maintain an image of dependability.

Brand toolbox – Along with the guidelines the Stepworks team produced easy-to-adapt templates of corporate stationery, presentation templates and other collaterals.

Easy online access – Brand assets are easily available to all relevant parties via a secure brandsite.

ICBC-Private-Bank-rebrand-commmunications-guidelines
Effective brand guidelines strike a balance between comprehensive and concise

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