Yesterday – just as financial markets were crumbling around the world, shareholder value was being eroded and confidence was slipping. Our venerable bank – the Bank of New Zealand – decided to rebrand.

Now of course they didn’t decide because of the economic crisis – I’m sure it’s been in planning for… oh at least 2two or three years – the corporate wheels turn slowly after all!

I’ve done a very rough online poll about these changes and the closest thing to a consensus I could find is the statement “I don’t like it but perhaps it’ll grow on me” – what, like leprosy?

I’ll not spend a lot of time dwelling on my thoughts – don’t want to taint the neutrality of the poll after all 😉

I will say that as I brushed my teeth this morning I was tempted to created a BNZ logo on the brush – subliminal advertising maybe?

bnz5The new logo – extruded from the tube of a graphic designer in some swanky loft studio in Wellington, resplendent in its Web 2.0 curves and with just the sort of flourish that says “yes – I HAVE had three glasses of savvy over lunch at Logan Brown – what of it?”

small_177The old logo. Traditional and perhaps a little staid, but conveying solidity and prudence in these difficult times. It says “I sailed in with the first four ships sonny, get me a G&T, polish the Roller and then we’ll talk about your loan”

[poll id=”16″]

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

10 Comments
  • Actually I think it was the ANZ that first set up shop. I’ve seen the safe that landed at Petone. But I do wonder at the decision to go ahead – after all this crisis has been building for nearly a year, so I’d have though a solid respectable image would have been a good thing to maintain right now. And what baloney about “our warm image”. Some self delusion there I think. How about Telecom rebranding with a Jack Russell as its logo?

  • @Jim – I couldn’t agree more – but then again we’re both showing our age saying that!

  • BNZ re-brand – eh, whatever.

    “just as financial markets were crumbling around the world” – I think you had a visit from Mr Hysterical that talks with a Fox News accent 😉

    Oh, “Our” – if you’re a customer sure you could think that, otherwise I think you’ll find it’s Australian.

    As for the how long it took and where it originated from I’d look more to months not years and further north than Wellington (head office of marketing is – clue, it’s been in the news recently, unfortunately)

  • @Mike

    1) The markets may not be crumbling but they’re getting closer
    2) Yup – I’m a customer and have been for, oh, 25 years
    3) Yeah I know – but I wanted to drop Logan Brown in there and I don’t know the name of any flash restaurants at Viaduct Basin

    So there ya go!

  • Bad attempt at being hip. Ugly thing…

  • I’m not a huge fan of the actual brand change, but it has some fascinating aspects to it that other rebranded efforts lack.

    When I released our (National Bank) site, we discovered that one of the primary considerations needed to be page size. Our site is large, weighing in at 470kb. ASB weigh in at a hefty 660kb. BNZ manage to keep their lean 140kb with the addition of some better imagery and a couple of minor bells and whistles.

    I’m not a huge fan of their layout. Can’t quite see what their motives might have been for retaining the narrow, left-aligned 800×600 page size. I’m not overly impressed with the apparent uncertainty about their corporate colour scheme. I see blues of all different flavours, pink, yellow and even a splash of green thrown in for good measure. ASB, ANZ and National all stick quite clearly to a known palette.

    In short, I think your poll is perhaps a little too polar. I think that BNZ might very well have taken a shot at being modern and “funky” [god, how I hate that word] only to misfire. However, I think that if you put the actual logo aside, the larger picture of their rebranding effort at least suggests an understanding that they need to move ahead. Granted they get an “E” for execution, but it’s a reasonable attempt.

    I wonder if all the other banks had all the good design companies booked up for the last 6 months?

    Incidentally – National engaged with a design company in March, with a final design agreed in April, project team formed and working by May and site released in September. That’s 4 months of actual development work, with about 6 in total planning (or lack thereof). The BNZ may have rushed their results in about the same timeframe once they heard the competition were already working on a spruce-up?

  • So does anyone know who is behind this example of yet another ‘attack of the friendlies’?

  • the good designer |

    Most people who have commented on the redesign are focusing on the logo, and are missing the bigger picture. It’s adapted from a custom typeface, commissioned by the bank, directed by DNA Design, and developed by Kris Sowersby, and will be public licensed in 2013.

    http://klim.co.nz/custom_serrano.php

    So yes, the nuts and bolts of the design work were done in Wellington. That’s about the only thing that you were right about on this, but you are entitled to be critical. The ‘piggy tail’ is fairly controversial, and I’m surprised they were bold enough to throw something like this out there.

  • miles thompson |

    would’ve voted for “perhaps a little staid, but conveying solidity and prudence in these difficult times” but since this had become “Just a sad, sad attempt to be hip – FAIL” i ended up voting for hte other one – i mean the design is nice.

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