Sustainability is at the heart of Nedbank’s latest campaign

Nedbank took its commitment to the environment, which includes zero exposure to all fossil fuel-related activities by 2045, a step further by highlighting how it does this internally.

Tebogo Motsepe, Head of Brand and Customer Information at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank

Nedbank’s new marketing campaign shows how the banking institution is leading by example in sustainable finance. To understand what the goals of the new campaign aim to achieve, Tebogo Motsepe, Head of Brand and Client Insights at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank and Michelle McKenna, Head of Integrated Creative Group at Joe Public, provide more insight. …

In March 2020, shortly after Covid-19 hit South Africa, Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank felt it was important to demonstrate the importance the business placed on sustainability as a cornerstone of its brand.

Motsepe says the pandemic has served as a reminder of how important it is to think and plan for the long term and to ensure those plans are sustainable no matter what circumstances may arise. Increased and ever-increasing awareness of the environment and people and businesses need to be more aware of the impact they have on the environment.

Motsepe adds that Nedbank CIB has always recognized this, but Covid-19 has indeed raised the bar, and they wanted to show, through their brand positioning, that they are upping their game in response.

“Unfortunately, we have also seen how Covid-19 has created a situation where many organizations are using the sustainability message to drive market share growth; not necessarily because they are taking full responsibility for sustainability. We didn’t want to be lumped into this ‘green-washing’, so we set out to critically assess our sustainability positioning,” says Motsepe.

Sustainability is at the heart of Nedbank's latest campaign

At the time, this was encompassed in their brand message, which was: “Partner with the bank that puts sustainability at its heart”.

“We realized that, given our goal to be recognized as a leading bank in sustainable finance that makes a real and lasting difference, we have repositioned our positioning, with a new brand message that asks the question “Do you want a bank that talks about sustainability or walks towards sustainability?” explains Motsepe. “It’s a subtle change, but one that we believe better defines our sincere commitment to sustainability and our desire not only to embrace sustainable development, but also to promote its realization.”

Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank, working with Joe Public, the agency that helped develop three advertisements, to incorporate this brand positioning by highlighting the potential to achieve environmental sustainability through impactful sustainability.

Michelle McKenna, Head of Integrated Creative Group at Joe Public, adds, “The campaign’s TVCs use CIB’s signature bird’s-eye view to illustrate what sustainable growth means in stunning detail, capturing growth charts shaped by landscapes, through photography and time-lapse animations.The campaign includes a number of films and digital elements, each demonstrating CIB’s commitment to sustainable growth in a different sphere of business. “

Campaign Rationale

When asked what was the motivation behind the campaign and what are the challenges CIB aims to address in the campaign, Motsepe replied, “We wanted to strongly position our sustainability message and demonstrate that instead of being simply realizing the importance of sustainability thinking, we’re partnering with our customers to take action. In a way, I guess you could say, we consider ourselves an “activist” of sustainability; championing the cause of environmental, social, economic and business sustainability and calling on our clients and society at large to join us in this form of “investment activism”.

Every ad mentions rewards as a measure of how well CIB is able to do what it says it can for its customers.

“A lot of the time in banking the message is very high level, not very tangible. It’s hard to say then, okay, if you say you’re awesome, show me you’re awesome. In this campaign, we talk about our expertise and then demonstrate it through the awards we’ve won, so we ended up with a campaign message that’s very current and relevant to the times we’re in. not just for South Africa, but for the world,” Motsepe points out.

Sustainability is at the heart of Nedbank's latest campaign

CIB has received several distinctions, including the Euromoney Awards 2021 for the best sustainable bank in finance in Africa; Best Investment Bank in South Africa by Global Finance Awards 2021 and Banker 2021 Deal of the Year Africa for Infrastructure & Project Finance.

A more sustainable thought

“We live in a world that in many ways has become too focused on the short term and, in many cases, on short term growth at all costs. However, this type of ‘growth at all costs’ at narrow-mindedness” is ultimately doomed because it is not grounded in sustainable thinking and generally does not produce positive long-term results. The good news is that there is a growing awareness in society of the need for more sustainable thinking, but this growing attention creates the risk that sustainability will become some sort of “throw-away” term that everyone uses, but no one really adopts,” says Motsepe when asked about the new campaign’s key message.

As a bank that honestly cares about sustainability, Nedbank CIB hopes to mitigate this risk and not only deliver real sustainable results for our clients, businesses and society as a whole, but inspire others to take the same genuine and sincere approach. .

“We have targeted media channels to deliver key messages where they are most relevant to our audience. But at the heart of our message is our commitment to sustainable growth, grounded in expertise and backed by compelling evidence. This comes at a time when many competitors are just In contrast, CIB places sustainability at the heart of everything it does.This campaign serves to demonstrate to our audience the value of sustainable growth well beyond a ‘green’ space,” McKenna comments.

Key focus

According to Motsepe, “Sustainability is one of our key strategic pillars, and we are serious about being proactive in achieving it. That’s why, in one of the advertisements, we want to communicate our commitment to zero exposure to fossil fuels. related activities by 2045. We consider this commitment to be central to our strategic aspiration to be a responsible lender and, more importantly, a responsible corporate citizen.

Sustainability is at the heart of Nedbank's latest campaign

Ultimately, sustainability is a key strategic foundation for us, so we’re not interested in just talking about sustainable growth; we are moving towards sustainable growth. Through this campaign, we are publicly affirming this commitment, so that all of our stakeholders are not only aware of our commitment to sustainability, but can hold us to it.”

The target audience for this campaign are commercial enterprises with an annual turnover of R700 million and above. And within these companies, CIB seeks to engage meaningfully with leaders, especially CEOs, CFOs and COOs, and does important work with government departments and various public companies. Beyond that, CIB hopes its message about the importance of a more sustainability mindset will resonate with a wide range of people, businesses and communities.

Times of crisis

McKenna says, “Times of crisis are the ultimate test of sustainability. The pandemic has forced many businesses to shut down and thrown entire industries and economies into disarray. While it is, of course, unfair to say that unsustainable practices are at the root of all of this, it is true that many have been exposed in the process.”

The massive task of recovery and reconstruction offers business leaders, policy makers and others the opportunity to choose a new path and opt for durable solutions for sustainable growth, albeit initially under the form of building resilience to weather the storms we will continue to face. face. So, we think the campaign is more relevant than ever. We intend to attract forward-thinking clients who see the value in partnering with a bank that embraces sustainable growth to build a better future for our country, our continent and, ultimately, the world. in which we live. »

The importance of sustainability in South Africa

“This thirst for profit often comes at a high cost to the environment and to people’s well-being. Yet, despite the unsustainability of the current system and a growing awareness around these issues, those who hold the keys to change – to namely major industry players, government and even other investment banks – are slow to adopt more sustainable practices,” says Motsepe.

The truth is that over the long term, the sustainability of people and the environment is inextricably linked to business profitability and financial viability.

Business profitability suffers when the environment can no longer sustain production, produce needed raw materials, or sustain energy needs.

“So, as a bank that puts sustainability at the heart of its concerns, we have the opportunity to awaken the business world to the truth of what sustainability really means and to pave the way for a more sustainable economy. , where, not only is sustainability of people and planet sustainability NOT at the expense of profit, but where it can drive even higher profit in the long run,” concludes Motsepe.

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