Why Teachers Mutual Bank launched a new digital-focused banking brand


A desire to increase market penetration and attract a younger core worker population saw Teachers Mutual Bank this month launch a dedicated digital banking brand, Winter, this month.

Carolyn Murphy, director of digital banking at Teachers Mutual Bank, said Marketing director the group has always strived to be a pioneer in terms of the development of the technical capacities of the members.

“With the impacts and acceleration of digital in 2020, this has given us the opportunity to implement a change in our business strategy without impacting our existing membership base and ecosystem,” she said. “Winter aims to further increase our market penetration for assets and deposits, while allowing us to dramatically improve member uptime and reduce service costs by combining digital and simplicity. It’s about delivering a simple service proposition that works every time.

Winter’s backing are underlying technological improvements, said Murphy, which has enabled the company to remove some of the legacy and complexity behind traditional banking. The Winter offer makes its debut with a digital integration capability, as well as various transaction and savings proposals. It is also debuting with a 1% cashback offer on groceries and transportation, a measure designed to give back to essential workers while they do their banking transactions.

In addition, Winter plans to offer a digital card issuance in the near future, as well as credit offers that include personal and auto loan products.

Winter now sits alongside Teachers Mutual Bank’s other brands: Firefighters Mutual Bank, Health Professional Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank and UniBank. Collectively, the 55-year-old mutual banking group has more than 210,000 members and $ 9 billion in assets.

However, unlike those other industry-specific brands, Murphy said Winter is designed to support all essential worker groups as a digitally-driven bank.

“We are looking to make this resonate particularly with 18-35 year olds, who are well versed in technology and mobile, and aim to be more progressive than what a traditional conservative bank would be,” she continued. “Winter still focuses on essential workers, but is for young people who don’t necessarily feel the same about a branch’s footprint and want access to new technology and self-service.

“We’ve tried to build the brand around simplicity and services that work every time and make things real and easy. ”

Building a brand from scratch

To create Winter, Teachers Mutual Bank worked with VMLY & R to create a new ecosystem of connected brands, from business case to proposition, to customer experience and brand design, to go-to-market plan. and the creative campaign.

“It was a multi-level process to not only select the name, but also build the brand that sits around the bank,” said Murphy. “We had to define four attributes in terms of name, appearance, tone and language, visual identity and the value proposition that we deliver.

“The main thing for us was belonging. As an essential worker, you are really aligned with your community and are of service to the community, so you are really connected to that. Belonging had to be at the forefront to bring the brand to life.

The second attribute was the simplicity of the service model and the Winter technology. Murphy said the third attribute was being modern and different from conservative banking brands, while the fourth was the focus on digital.

“Knowing that our heritage was around people and relationships, we wanted to bring a real sense of humanity and life to this digital experience,” she added.

As part of the process, Teachers Mutual Bank initially came up with 42 different names before testing three. The one that originally returned was “Hive,” which Murphy said was simple to understand, clearly represented the community, and demonstrated collective work for a common goal and a shared outcome. Still, legal and trademark restrictions took the name off the table.

“We had to play with the name and we ended up with Winter,” Murphy said. “The principle is that it takes the teamwork of an entire bee community to ensure the prosperity of a hive. Winter represents this interdependence of a large group of people: essential workers. ”

As a mutual bank, the majority of funding for Teachers Mutual Bank brands comes from member deposits.

“This means ‘Winters’ – our members – can contribute home loans to paramedics, teachers and other eligible members. The more the hive grows, the more we can invest in members, whether it’s lower rates, investments or customer service, ”said Murphy.

To inform the brand, value proposition and experience, Teachers Mutual Bank conducted qualitative and quantitative client research in May and September around essential Australian workers. This claimed that 87% did not choose their profession for the money, but because they want to help others.

Such an idea was then the focus of the launch campaign, “The Betterers’ Bank,” a real word that Murphy says injected a bit of fun into the Winter brand approach. The goal of the campaign is to position digital banking as supporting those who make the world a better place. It’s also about communicating who and what Winter stands for, building brand awareness, generating interest, and building membership and buy-in, she said.

The overall campaign is digitally driven, using hyper-targeting techniques to market directly to critical worker audiences through social media channels and online display advertising.

“We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know this audience through research to understand how we can support them,” Murphy said, adding that the research report was released to the media.

Over the next few months, Winter plans to release variations of its campaign, but shift the product focus to its next line of credit products, including personal and auto loans. Initially, Winter debuted with an everyday transaction type account as well as a bonus savings account.

A number of metrics are used to assess brand success. Growth is one, the other is proving the technology. New business platforms and web platforms have been used within the company, Murphy said.

“We see Winter as this opportunity to introduce new technology that we can also leverage across the company over time,” she said. “And it’s an iterative approach to keep improving. ”

As part of the development process, a number of employees were seconded to the Winter delivery team.

“As we move forward, we’ll have a dedicated team, but we can fill some of those other roles as well,” Murphy said. “It was a great opportunity for the existing teams to focus on a new initiative.

“Everyone was really excited to do something different and really agreed. We implemented new agile ways of working and everyone was really open which was great to see. ”

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Michael J. Birnbaum

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