In the intensely competitive credit card Balance Transfer (BT) market, banks offer low interest rates to build market share. Having achieved significant year-on-year growth in this market, the Bank still faced concentrated attack from competitors following the National Bank brand merger. Undercutting risked a price war and would not gain crucial cut-through. Maintaining market share was a major challenge, so growing it required a radical approach.
A key insight was that while people want to avoid thinking about their credit card debts, the irony is that it is all they end up thinking about. The challenge was to show that ANZ not only understands how distressing that can be, but also offers a great solution to help make it go away.
The innovative strategy included:
• Bold timing – the BT market is most active post-Christmas, when consumers seek to consolidate debt, so ANZ went to market in June and July, when competitor budgets were exhausted in order to dominate share of voice.
• Bold creative – based on real insights into customer needs to differentiate ANZ from competitors’ predominantly rate-driven campaigns.
• Bold channel selection – a consistent message across multiple channels and touchpoints, including TV and Radio as direct response channels – a major, but highly successful, departure.
The proposition was based on offering the ‘lowest for longest’ balance transfer rate – a low interest rate for a whole year to give customers more time to reduce debt and get themselves sorted.
Striking visual imagery cuts right to the heart of customers’ anxiety over credit card debt. It uses the metaphor of a series of Rorschach test inkblots, each one in the shape of something they might have spent money on using their credit card.
The bold timing of the ANZ Low Rate MasterCard campaign proved to be decisive. It gave them three months in the marketplace without any significant competitor activity, allowing for a dominant share of voice to be sustained throughout the period. The results were a spectacular validation of the approach, significantly exceeding all targets.