Melbourne Business School News St.George Bank reveals its brand success secrets at student marketing event

St.George Bank reveals its brand success secrets at student marketing event

St.George Bank's success in revitalising its brand is a marketing case study in the value of honouring heritage and doing things differently.

The bank was named the ninth most valuable Australian brand for 2018 in the BrandZ Top 40 Most Valuable Brands Report. A huge achievement given its south Sydney roots where it began as a building co-operative 80 years ago.



Kate Kissane, St.George Bank head of brand & advertising, was key speaker at the recent Student Marketing Association Debate at the School, hosted by faculty member Mark Ritson.

Ms Kissane provided a behind-the-scenes account of how the bank revitalised its brand to reconnect with long term customers and engage with a new generation.

We bleed green

By returning to its core value as a community-based institution, tweaking its brand colours and introducing a new animated Little Dragon character in a series of humorous commercials, St.George were able to appeal to customers across the generations.

"Our friendly Pixar quality Little Dragon gave us the opportunity to modernise the brand in a way that still honours our heritage, where 'family and community' are at the heart of everything we do," Ms Kissane said.

Ms Kissane revealed St.George also did things that marketing students would never find in a text book.

"The biggest change was to our colour. St.George's primary colour was red, which made it hard for a relatively small brand to cut through because of other red brands, such as Westpac, Vodafone and Qantas," she said.

"Now, we're green – we absolutely bleed green. In a category where colour is such a strong brand cue it was critical that we were visually distinct. It gave us a fresh modern look that we rolled out across all branches, websites and creative assets."

Ms Kissane also explained how using research to inform their decisions and tracking against their goals enabled them to optimise their approach.

Joining Ms Kissane on the night was Matt Forbes, head of insight integration at Westpac, and three industry panellists who unpacked why St.George's marketing strategy was so successful.

The panel included Ryan Wellman, associate creative director and head of copy at Wellmark, Tony Phillips, chief marketing officer of News Corp, and Ben Edmonds, senior sponsorship and events manager at Carlton & United Breweries.

A forum for success

Professor Ritson said the quarterly series of debates connects the School's students and alumni with leading marketers.

"Melbourne Business School was founded as a place where people can come and talk about business. This series is a great place to discuss marketing. It's at the heart of what the School does best," said Professor Ritson.  

Event organiser, part-time MBA student and national account manager at Asahi Beverages, Marina Rodato said the St.George event was an outstanding success.

"Hearing the St.George story tonight was a valuable way to learn about the critical role that marketing plays in developing successful businesses," said Ms Rodato, Student Marketing Association co-leader.

Keep track of upcoming debates at the Student Marketing Association Instagram.