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Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Picture: BUSINESS DAY

Capitec Bank, named the strongest brand in Africa, attributes the accolade to creating a clear identity and consistently communicating it at every client touchpoint.

Valuation agency Brand Finance, in its “Africa Top 150 2022” brand survey, determines the relative strength of brands on the basis  of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance. Capitec has increased its brand value 41% to $625m from the previous year and has the strongest brand strength index score of 92.4 out of 100, with a corresponding brand rating of AAA+.

Brand Finance notes that Capitec is forming strategic partnerships to keep up with trends in online banking and digital transformation. Most recently, the bank partnered with IT consulting firm Entersekt to leverage behavioural analytics and boost e-commerce transactions.

The bank also works alongside US software brand nCino to provide more efficient and effective services with the help of cloud banking and digital automation.

Francois Viviers, group executive for marketing and communications, tells the FM: “We exist to make banking simple and transparent so that our clients can live better. This obsession is what drives a lot of the underlying emotion and affinity linked to Capitec as a brand. When we do something well, our clients celebrate it. And if we do not meet their expectations, they get furiously disappointed and tell the world about it. We love how passionately engaged our clients are — a brand can only build that over time.”

There is no doubt that simplicity and technology are key pillars of success for the banks.   

African Bank Group is implementing what it calls a customercentric, digital- and data-enabled business, while digital-only TymeBank is looking to replicate its model in overseas markets. Bank Zero allows customers to create an account and obtain a bank card through its mobile app without having to visit a branch.

Brand Finance says banks, including Standard Bank (brand value up 26% to $1.6bn), FNB (brand value up 18% to $1.6bn) and Absa (brand value up 16% to $1.4bn), are all contributing to the success of African brands, accounting for  26% of the total brand value growth.

If banks are not playing innovatively in the tech space, they are losing the race for customers

African banks, operating in an increasingly crowded and competitive market, have risen in the rankings thanks in part to their focus on digital payments and online banking.

Viviers says: “I do not think that brands are built by advertising or storytelling if you cannot back that up with substance. We believe client experience is what drives our brand, and our marketing only serves to amplify that. We focus on making sure our value proposition and client experience is right — that is what sustains the brand.”

If banks are not playing innovatively in the tech space, they are losing the race for customers. According to Insider Intelligence’s fourth annual “Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study”, mobile banking has become a must-have feature for financial institutions to remain competitive, particularly among digitally savvy millennials and Gen Z members.

“Technology has become so integrated into the way we do things as a society that we do not think about it as tech any more,” says Viviers. “It is not about being tech first but about meeting the customer where they are at, which is often in a hybrid world enabled through technology. Our people have been instrumental in implementing this and have excelled in this new hybrid digital world.”

Viviers says behavioural analytics is critical to a strong financial services brand. “Our clients share significant amounts of data in their transactions and engagements with us as a bank. They trust us with their money and data. In that data lies a lot of power.”

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