Nationwide brings back building society branding as it looks to become leader in a ‘tarnished market’

Nationwide is to include ‘building society’ in its brand name for the first time as it looks to “raise its heads” above the rest of the sector and better articulate what makes it different.

Nationwide is refreshing its brand after “hunkering down and protecting the business” in the aftermath of the financial crisis, unveiling a brand name, “building society Nationwide” and campaign aimed at explaining more clearly how it differs from its PLC competitors.

The building society has already launched a new campaign ‘Life’s better when we share’ campaign in June this year, but it is now keen to show the British public a different side.

The brand’s CMO Sara Bennison says the June campaign was an “interim measure” to start articulating what makes a building society different from other banks. Since then, the brand has been investigating what it stands for and how to articulate this message “more powerfully than it had in the past”.

“While Nationwide is a loved brand, the people that don’t know us don’t know us. For many good reasons our best brand story had not yet been told,” she told Marketing Week.

“During the financial crisis Nationwide had to hunker down and protect the business and its current membership – which is the right thing to do. Now we want to raise our head above the rest of the category.”

Nationwide is hoping to become a leader of “a category that has become so tarnished”, according to Bennison. While the brand had previously avoided labelling itself a ‘building society’, it has now decided to include the phrase in its brand name.

“Normally when you’re dealing in these markets, you are trying to find a point of difference between you and other brands,” she said.

“Us being a building society is a massive point of difference, but it’s quite hard to articulate.”

Sara Bennison, CMO, Nationwide

“We are a member-owned organisation so we need to get across how it translates into how we make decisions in difficult and post-Brexit times.”

While the last campaign featured a young girl sharing cupcakes, the new two-minute long ad sees various spoken word artists perform a poem based around different themes, including “being a mum” and “loneliness in a connected world”.

The first film will be aired during the X Factor ad break on Saturday 17 September. It focuses on the experience of being a mum, and aims to underline Nationwide’s credentials as a children’s savings provider. Both the second and third films will air on Sunday 18 September. All the commercials end with the line ‘14 million members, building society, Nationwide’.

Sara Bennison, who has been in her role for just over six months, concluded: “We wanted to portray our roots of being a building society and the power of the collective. The ad has no music, no razzmatazz, it’s shot in a simple and raw way. It’s very different from what we’ve done before and from our competitors.”

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