Every journey must come to an end, as they say, and so it proved this weekend for the newly re-branded Lloyds Bank.
After six years of animated ads and operatic music, Lloyds waved goodbye to its long-running "For the journey" campaign and kicked off a new marketing strategy introducing a new strapline, "The moments that matter."
Perhaps unfortunately for Lloyds, the refresh has come at a frenetic time for the UK’s retail banking sector. Adspend is up an estimated 85% year-on-year in September, as the big banks trade blows in an effort to benefit from the UK’s new account switching service and burgeoning housing market.
The situation has been made all the more complicated by the reappearance of two "new" high street brands, Lloyds and TSB, separated after 18 years of marriage due to European competition demands.
Catherine Kehoe (right), managing director for brands and marketing, Lloyds Banking Group acknowledges the competition is intense – "we’ve never seen anything like it in the category" – but insists the time was right for Lloyds to offer a new message to consumers.
"‘For the journey’ was fantastically successful. It was the most recognisable campaign in the financial sector, and most successful in terms of ROI. But we’ve taken the opportunity to signal to our customers the next chapter," says Kehoe.
"It’s very difficult to let go of something that has been and continued to be hugely successful, but I think there is something around that world that doesn’t reflect as well as it should do. It was right for the time, has been successful for six years, but everyone has been looking forward to the opportunity to refresh it and move forward.
"We’ve had a quiet revolution in the bank over the last few years, investing a huge amount in our service proposition. And it’s not just banks that have changed over the past six years - customers lives have changed irreversibly. This better reflects our position, that what matters to our customers matters to us, and allows us to prove it," she adds.
Unlike TSB, where awareness is the most pressing priority, for Lloyds the focus is on recovering the brand’s reputation for customer service excellence – damaged by the PPI mis-selling scandal which cost the bank billions of pounds.
One of the key ways in which Lloyds aims to regain that lost trust is by speaking its "customer’s words", rather than simply stating which products it is able to offer them. Kehoe uses the example of first time buyers: "We want to talk about what it feels like buying your first home, rather than the problem of getting on the housing market."
We want to talk about what it feels like buying your first home, rather than the problem of getting on the housing market.
Another key area is that of patriotism. Despite the government’s recent sale of 6% of its stake in Lloyds Banking Group, it continues owns nearly 33% of the bank, and with that comes an expectation that Lloyds will do its bit to help taxpayers and the country’s businesses.
Chief executive António Horta-Osório has made the support of UK plc a key pillar of his strategy for the organisation, and this manifested itself in Lloyds Bank’s "teaser" ad, showing the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol along with the line, "Building a better bank for Britain."
"There has been tremendous clarity from Antonio in terms of our UK focus, that we’re here to serve the people of Britain and to help Britain prosper," says Kehoe. "To say we’re ‘Building a better bank for Britain’ is bold, ambitious, assertive, unequivocal and confident."
According to Kehoe, in the context of five years of recession and austerity, the use of words such as "better" and "prosper" chimes with a desire by UK consumers for optimism from brands: "People are looking for confidence from their bank, because everyone understands the importance of banks to the UK economy more broadly, as well as to them individually.
"It has been important to be honest about the challenges customers are facing and to be clear that we are here to help.
"The tone of voice has been the most important thing – both ‘For the journey’ and ‘Moments that matter’ are about being there for customers over the long-term, but this has become sharper, more focused on what it is like to be a customer or a business in Britain today."
One of the most important aspects of the refresh has been the ability to implement "one voice" across all elements of the brand, including its private and commercial banking operations, claims Kehoe.
She says: "For the first time, there will be one voice and one campaign across all of Lloyds’ customer divisions. This is a great opportunity to unify ‘one bank’ and that has been one of the most exciting things internally.
"Everyone is enormously proud; it doesn’t feel like it’s going back to something, it’s rearticulating what Lloyds stood for in today’s society."
As one journey ends, another begins. How long this one lasts will depend on whether consumers truly believe the bank can help on those moments that "matter".