Formed by the merger of Islamic Bank of Brunei and Islamic Development Bank of Brunei in 2005, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) sought to develop a sustainable business model that would help serve the financial needs of all Bruneians and become Brunei’s largest Islamic financial institution.
To fulfill this goal, BIBD engaged the services of Consulus to help transform its organisational culture through internal brand circles and training workshops and strengthen the perception of the brand with a refreshed identity.
Identifying a relevant and sustainable business model requires extensive research on current organisational perceptions, behaviours and processes.
A ‘fact-finding’ or Harness phase took place at the start of the branding exercise to provide guiding principles for the development of a strategic roadmap that is used to uncover areas of opportunity and improvement.
Insights to Opportunities For Growth
One insight revealed deficiencies within BIBD’s organisational communications and centres of influence. For example, internal stakeholders revealed that emails and meetings were only used as a means to delegate work, and lacked a duality of two-way communication. More often than not, employees felt that the communication system was more rigid than open and bureaucratic. This affected teamwork and trust.
Secondly, there was a negative impression of BIBD’s old corporate image. Its leaders desired for the bank to be synonymous with being Brunei’s flagship Islamic financial institution – relatable, reliable and fully aware of the needs of its customers. The old image did not communicate those ideas effectively. Instead, BIBD was perceived to lack sustainable and differentiated products and services.
Clear Purpose and Direction
Understanding how internal and external stakeholders perceive a brand is crucial to identifying the core purpose of the business.
By conducting interviews with BIBD’s management team and its customers, its existing states of ability, influence and differentiation helped Consulus define the guiding principles of the company for which a strategic roadmap could then be developed.
With its purpose defined as ‘a financial partner who is intuitive to their life’s goals providing holistic Islamic financial solutions’, the proposed Brand Purpose and 3-State Brand Model for BIBD is as follows:
- Ability: Intimate know-how of customer’s needs and goals to deliver intuitive financial solutions
- Influence: Partner for all of life’s aspirations
- Differentiation: Customised and adaptive service experience
Alignment to Take The Lead
Lasting change is only possible with the participation of all staff. To ensure that the company’s new purpose and direction was clearly communicated, Consulus trained key staff to be brand activists, who would in turn engage other staff to be part of the company’s future and growth.
Failing to include stakeholders or empower them by excluding them from the developmental process of the brand works against nurturing effective brand activists. Companies must want individuals who willingly collaborate with co-workers to help push the company forward.
During strategic management workshops, Consulus worked closely with BIBD’s management team to help design new ways of incorporating values into the working culture. Planned curriculums were drawn up to invite staff input and instill a sense of ownership in employees.
While most culture-building exercises begin and end with workshops, management and staff will continue to work together to ensure continuity by implementing the ideas from staff to achieve a truly ‘Bruneian at Heart’ banking culture.
A working committee was also elected by staff to implement and build on the internal brand culture to ensure its perpetuity.
Design for Business
The corporate identity of any brand plays an important part in communicating the beliefs and values of the company. It should help frame the narrative of the brand and consist of elements that reach out and connect with stakeholders.
Through conducting visual audits, perceptions towards the brand were identified. Some common perceptions we received were that the bank seemed “too distant” and a “closed institution”. This had to change. In fact, rooted in BIBD’s core values are strong beliefs and reverence for the Islamic way of life.
Efforts had to be made to ensure that people found the brand to be relatable and received as a sound financial institution that could understand the needs and aspirations of the customer. The brand had to evoke an emotional response that was aligned with the new corporate tagline, “Bruneian At Heart”.
Embodying the Essence of being Bruneian At Heart
BIBD’s identity needed to communicate itself as ‘a financial partner who is intuitive to their life’s goals providing holistic Islamic financial solutions’. In short, BIBD had to be perceived as a world-class institution in Brunei and a role model institution in the world.
This brand positioning is unique and one that no other bank can own. Under close advisory from key stakeholders, it was decided that the existing brand name was to be retained to ensure the bank was represented without ambiguity. It had to be aligned with Islamic values, be easy to pronounce and remember, connote who the company is and what it does and yet be unique.
With these criteria in mind, the new logo and tagline was conceived.
The rationale behind the new logo was to help express the brand as being:
- Inherently Bruneian
- By Bruneians and for Bruneians
- A natural affinity between customer and the Bank
A ‘Bruneian at Heart’ Retail Banking Experience
Bringing the new banking experience to customers meant that BIBD’s customer touch-points adopted the new visual identity. Online and offline touch-points must communicate a consistent artistic language to result in an effective branding exercise. Even uniforms carrying the new motifs were made for both male and female staff.
The launch of BIBD’s refurbished Kiulap Branch is an example of a customer touch-point that carried the theme of ‘Bruneian At Heart’. The purpose of this retail strategy is to create something only Bruneians can relate to. The refreshed retail experience was something new yet profoundly familiar.
Hjh Nurul Akmar Binti Md Ja’afar, Deputy Head of BIBD’s Consumer Banking Division, highlighted the importance of this transformation to BIBD’s expansion plans. She said, “One of the bank’s aspirations is to spread its wings internationally. It is at the leadership of our board and management that we create a three year strategic plan. Within this plan, some of the phases of progression are system upgrades, customer service experience upgrades and refurbishment. So with all these in place, we believe it is timely for us to prepare our team to go abroad in the near future.”
These are pictures from the newly developed retail concept inspired by the warmth of Bruneian hospitality and its heritage as a nation. The result was a bank that is unlike any other filled with a distinctive BIBD visual language inspired by the fabric patterns found in Brunei. The space was designed for more one-to-one interaction, with a welcoming colour palette supported by accents of natural wood invoking the feeling of stepping into someone’s home.
Communicating the new brand identity cumulated with the introduction of an iconic new symbol. Drawn from 4 distinctive Bruneian elements, Consulus created one of the most meaningful logos in the world.
Lawrence Chong, CEO at Consulus, explained the impact of this rebranding on a national level, “The world needs more iconic Asian brands. It has really been a privilege to be able to work on such a meaningful brand like BIBD. This is not just about branding a bank, but about building a national identity.”
With the launch of this new Brand Identity, BIBD is truly ready to expand overseas and emerge as the representative brand of the nation.
Different Contact Points, One Consistent Representation
From retail branches to corporate stationery, the new identity reminds internal and external stakeholders that BIBD is synonymous with providing financial services and products that are for Bruneians, by Bruneians.
Opening the Door to Future Opportunities
An effective branding exercise consists of careful alignment from the “inside out”. Collaboration plays an important part in ensuring a brand’s success. In the case of BIBD, PurposeCORE helped uncover areas of missed opportunities. Subsequently, ExperienceCORE helped better communicate the core purpose of the business through effective marketing tools and overall brand experience.
Starting with the Wish Campaign, Consulus and BIBD have been on a singular path of bringing innovation and organisational alignment to assist in the transformation of Brunei’s leading Islamic Bank. Beginning with new ways of securing insights from customers, the afore mentioned campaign, the brand identity and banking experience were angled towards creating a uniquely Bruneian experience. This could only be achieved as both parties understood the importance of building iconic Asian banking brands that can stand out in the world. The extensive exercise started 4 years through organisational development till re-imagining the user-experience at the branches.
Speaking on the extent of work done by Consulus, Managing Director of BIBD, Javed Ahmed had fond recollections of the branding and experience design process, “This project has been a long project. It has had its ups and downs, but one thing I must say is that when we were going through a down period and we needed help, Consulus was always there to actually provide all the support that we needed. So really, it was not just a client relationship, it was more of a partnership.”
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