Lombard Odier lead marketer Fabio Mancone explains why the Swiss bank decided to launch its first global marketing campaign, ‘Rethink Everything’.
It is not often that an organisation dating back over two centuries offers a blank canvas for its lead marketers. However, that was pretty much the case for the team tasked with devising Lombard Odier’s first concerted global advertising campaign.
The Swiss private bank has been specialising in asset and wealth management since 1796 – the era of the French Revolution, and pre-dating the rise of Napoleon. Over the course of the past 220 years, it has rarely felt the need to tell the world about its proposition – but this has changed with the emergence of a post-trust financial services landscape in the wake of the 2008 crisis.
In September 2015, Lombard Odier hired former Unilever, Kraft Foods, L’Oreal, Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani marketing veteran Fabio Mancone as executive vice president, chief branding officer. He was recruited with a very straight-forward purpose: to put the bank “back on the map” for potential customers, existing employees and external talent.
“We wanted to make sure that people understood who we are, our raison d’être and purpose. We wanted to make sure we could create a link, beyond just the product and offers, but with the brand itself,” Mancone tells M&M Global.
The capacity for reinvention
The bank spent over three months delving into the history of the company to discover which “critical elements of the DNA” most resonated with today’s banking customers, and had been passed down from generation to generation at the company – which Mancone prefers to refer to as “our house”, or “maison”.
The most compelling factor, he says, is that Lombard Odier has battled through and survived 40 major financial crises, each time emerging a stronger business thanks to a “capacity for reinvention”. In light of recent global financial troubles, Mancone says it became clear that the brand should adopt a strapline urging its audience to ‘Rethink Everything’ and embrace the spirit of flexibility.
“It is a continuity of what we have been doing for 220 years without telling the world. The difference is that today, in the world of banking, secrecy has gone. You can be discreet with clients, but you need to tell the world your raison d’être,” he says.
The positioning was framed within a new ‘brand purpose statement’ and briefed to a number of creative agencies ahead of a pitch, from which WPP’s RKCR/Y&R emerged victorious, in part thanks to what Mancone describes a “sensibility and interest in the dynamics of banking”.
MEC, meanwhile, was selected as media agency based on its ability to offer global reach both in traditional and digital media.
The ‘Rethink Everything’ campaign rolled out last month in the UK, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong and China, with the aim of challenging preconceptions about business and the economy.
High-net-worth individuals were targeted through a series of international and local partnerships with the likes of Monocle, The Economist, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Asia and South China Morning Post, each with a creative idea most relevant to the regional audience.
Mancone says the brand demanded full-page ads, to ensure “real stand-out power” and drive greater brand engagement: “This campaign is not made to sell products; it is made to establish a bond, to create empathy.”
At the heart of the campaign, insists Mancone, is an acknowledgement that customers have lost faith with financial institutions, particularly with those based in Switzerland – but that some brands, like Lombard Odier, have much to be proud of.
“The key point is that trust has gone; trust in the whole finance sector has disappeared. In the big, smoky room of finance there are some institutions that have values that are trustworthy, and that’s why we decided to come out like this,” he says.
“In reality, there is sometimes a misconception of Switzerland and Swiss-based institutions, and it was important to say, ‘Yes, there are some things that have changed, and that have had to change. We have been the first ones to change, because we are re-thinkers.’
“What clients are interested in, at the end of the day, is that their wealth is taken care of, and will grow in the long-term. You can’t have relationships in the long term based on anything other than trust,” he says.