The banking landscape in Cambodia has been rapidly changing in recent years, with strong digital and branding transformation efforts by many major banks, to better capitalize on the highly connected millennials that are demanding a higher level of service and better digital tools to manage their banking needs.
Known for its Grade-A skyscraper Vattanac Capital located at the heart of the central business district of Phnom Penh, Vattanac Bank was established in 2002 as a small local bank with only 15 employees. Today, it stands as one of the top retail and commercial banks with 22 branches nationwide, holding over $720M in assets.
Vattanac Bank initially reached out to Mäd to design a new website that would be launched in tandem with their new mobile banking application and business and retails internet banking solutions, giving the bank a significant upgrade across all customer touch-points and segments.
Within this initial project, Vattanac Bank made us the Agency of Record to have oversight across all major branding matters for the bank. This suited both parties well, as at Mäd we optimize for long-term client relationships.
The core of our work with Vattanac Bank is to reposition the bank from a more niche bank that primarily focuses on HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals) to a more mass-market bank. Vattanac Bank has approximately $720M in assets across 18,000 customers, with an average of $40,000 of assets per customer. If we look at a large bank like Canadia Bank, they have $6.5B in assets, but spread over 350,000+ customers, with an average of ~$18,500 per customer - around half of Vattanac Bank’s assets-per-customer number.
The key reasoning behind this move is growth, as there are only so many HNWIs within Cambodia, and so to keep the growth rate up, diversification with regards to the customer segment was required.
The bank’s senior management correctly identified that digitalization is the key strategy in ensuring that the move into a more diversified customer base is successful, as retail customers now expect the ability to view their accounts and manage transactions without having to step into a branch.
Repositioning for Growth.
Whilst brand identity and brand image are important for business advancement in reaching its long-term goals, brand positioning dictates the progress of that advancement. Although Vattanac Bank’s rapid growth shows an outstanding performance of a business, there is still room for the bank to reach its full potential growth, hence the new marketing strategy of brand repositioning.
In 2007, Vattanac Bank launched its Premier Banking services, offering exclusive benefits and privileges to its customers. Acclaimed for its trusted Premier Banking solutions, Vattanac Bank has gained international recognition as a Premier retail and commercial bank in Cambodia. Following the new rebranding, Vattanac Bank wants to expand from being a niche bank to providing its banking services and solutions to the mass market.
Accustomed to asking the right questions to get to the heart of the problem, our initial approach was to look at the branding to fully understand the brand essence as well as where the brand lives in the customer’s mind. Once we got to the pain points, we proposed to Vattanac Bank our strategy in helping the bank position itself in response to the mass market’s needs through this rebranding.
At Mäd, we always think long-term, therefore we chose to tackle the challenges from the foundation of the company, referring to its core values, mission, and vision. We believe that to fully understand what the customers want, we must be able to identify their problems and communicate to the customers how we can solve those problems for them. Thus, we refined Vattanac Bank’s vision, mission, and core values on why they are the go-to bank when it comes to providing banking solutions across all customer segments.
The next element we looked at was the typography used widely for the brand both in print and digital. Typography is a powerful tool for branding because it can convey messages about the brand to the audience through color, style, typeface, size, and visual clarity.
Our decision was to create new typography to match the new modern brand identity and to improve legibility. There are two fonts that we used for the typography, which are Noto Sans and Noto Serif based on the target audience.
For the mass market, we chose Noto Sans complimented with the main colors of the brand, Vattanac Blue and Vattanac Yellow. The execution can be seen across the pages. To maintain the exclusivity of its Premier Banking, we distinguished the Premier Banking page from the main homepage by using a similar font from the Noto font family called Noto Serif paired with Vattanac Dark Gold as a primary color.
We then developed a visual language to further communicate Vattanac Bank's connection with their community. The shades and lines of the visual language were inspired by the Vattanac Capital building and consists of 18 lines, each line representing one year of Vattanac Bank's existence up until 2020.
Looking at the old website, we saw that it was heavily focused on the content without any visual elements to accompany and compliment the website aesthetics. Considering that, our solution was to introduce icons as a new brand element to Vattanac Bank. The purpose of the icons is to act as an effective communication indicator to ensure the customer's ease of navigation on the website and its mobile banking app.
Additionally, we added new photography guidelines to capture the brand characteristics and decide how the brand should be perceived.
A New Digital Branch.
Prior to digitalization, phone calls used to be the quickest method for consumers to obtain any kind of information related to a brand and its product offerings. In the presence of corporate websites, consumers no longer have to go through the hassle of making calls and having to wait to speak with a company representative again. An effective website is a perfect example of reaching customers at the right place and time.
Whilst corporations operate around business hours, it does not apply to websites as they are always ready and available to the public within a number of clicks, making them the perfect information resources for customers.
Over the years, Vattanac Bank has been expanding its branches to provide a personal banking experience for its customers. Likewise, they want to go beyond the physical branch to offer the same experience on a digital platform.
For the Vattanac Bank website, our approach was not to just build a beautiful website but one that serves a purpose in providing informational resources for the customers.
With that in mind, we optimized ease of use for the website through simplified navigation while offering a Vattanac Bank’s banking experience to the users within each click. In a way, the information architecture walks the users from one page to another almost like having a company representative walk a customer through a banking process.
If we look at the old website, we can see chunks of information are being compressed into each page, making it difficult to digest the messages. When there are too many words clump together, your eyes tend to get weary and start to scan the pages instead of trying to interpret the information. Thus, the content is not likely to generate traffic for the website or allow a good customer experience.
As opposed to the former website, the new website is significantly more minimalist, illustrating a modern and classic look.
To maintain the brand essence and its well-recognized Premier Banking experience, we decided to incorporate an exclusive Premier Banking page for the Premier customers to showcase the exclusivity and banking privileges. As a finishing touch, we added the gold icons as a complementary feature to highlight the benefits.
The key features that we had to consider are:
- Up-to-date information on products and services. Accuracy is key. When a business fails to update their current product and service offerings, they are at risk of losing their leads each time there is traffic to their website. So, we had to ensure that all of the products and services on the website reflect the bank’s current offers.
- Career Section. Following the rapid growth of Vattanac Bank, a great team is needed to ensure consistency in the quality of work. Likewise, the career section works to attract potential candidates to expand the Vattanac Bank family. It also communicates the company’s continuous growth to the customers.
- Micro Animations. Our goal is to bring in minimal design yet interactive. Thus, the website would not be completed if we did not incorporate the after-effects and Lottie Animations to spark the vivacity of the website.
Future-proofing a business can be challenging, and without measurable structure, there can be no definitive reporting. We helped create KPI dashboards for the bank team to ensure they could keep track of their progress in real-time.
In celebration of its 18 years of growth, Vattanac Bank strives to continuously become the first in people’s minds when it comes to providing easy banking solutions to all. Following this, the new brand look was implemented to communicate the messages and bring the brand closer to its audience.
While Vattanac Bank is rapidly growing over the past decade, it is all due to its customers who entrust them in delivering a personal banking experience with easy solutions. Going forward, Vattanac Bank wants to focus on its customer acquisition while strengthening its existing customer relationships.
To reach that goal, Vattanac Bank’s approach is to double down on digital communications which allows them to reach their customers in a more efficient manner. With the mobile banking app, Vattanac Bank provides fast and convenient banking services to its customers.
While celebrating the first 18 years, we now look forward to a prosperous and innovative next 18 years for Vattanac Bank.
Designing a fully customized website alongside a yet-to-be-finished brand book requires a highly collaborative approach, with forward-thinking to compensate for ongoing adaptions.
While many may opt to simply wait until the rebrand was complete, we knew we could intelligently build simultaneously to highly optimize the time needed to complete the project.
Time is money, and banking is big business.
Following the launch of its new website, Vattanac Properties, part of Vattanac Group, engaged us for The Atom.
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