Lloyds Banking Group
subsidiary Halifax has launched an integrated marketing campaign to
mark the start of a new phase as a renewed, challenger brand. Group
director for Halifax Community Bank, David Nicholson, discusses the
campaign strategy with Meghna Mukerjee.


Photograph of David Nicholson, HalifaxA
revitalised challenger brand is how Halifax will differentiate
itself in the market. Halifax, a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking
group, will promote its strategy in song across UK TV screens,
flagging up extended branch opening hours, prize draws and current
account incentives.

The main aim for Halifax is to
focus on being a real challenger to the big banks in the market and
become the “fastest-growing viable main bank account”.

Starting with their
new savings proposition – offering customers £100 to £100,000 ($155
to $155,000) cash prizes monthly through prize draws
– the
challenger brand identity includes the Halifax reward current
account and clarity credit card.

As the tagline of the new ad
campaign suggests – “The people who give you extra” – the way ahead
for Halifax is to build upon its core brand value; customer

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Halifax Community Bank group
director David Nicholson told RBI: “We are revitalising
the focus on making our customers better off and getting on with
making Halifax the number one challenger in the UK.

“We have got a really proud
heritage of doing good things for customers. And it is very much
time for us now to shake up the high street and focus on the thing
we are good at – which is giving back to customers.”

Halifax ads have previously
featured Halifax employees, such as the ‘staff as stars’ ad. And
despite the revamp, Halifax is continuing with their
colleague-based approach in advertising.

Customers, however, want Halifax to
continue with the traditional approach, explained Nicholson.

Nicholson said: “We did weigh lots
of options but customers wanted us to build on our traditional
heritage in a modern way that shows we are ready to give them

“For this campaign, we used a
different advertising agency, Adam and Eve, and gave them a blank
sheet of paper and full liberty to go out there, speak to
customers, and see what they come up with.

“What sang back was that people
really love the way we make use of music and communicate through
our ads.”



Photograph of Halifax community choirThe main
element of change in the new ads is Halifax “pulling together as a
community” through the Halifax community choir.

“This is about stating the message
in a very clear and upbeat way that the Halifax community are
engaged with meeting the needs of our customers,” said

Singing out famous tunes such as
Michael Jackson’s I’ll be there and Hard Day’s
by The Beatles, the two new TV advertisement feature the
Halifax community choir.

Now on air, the ads focus on
Halifax’s unique rewards current accounts – the only current
account to pay a customer £5 monthly, and how Halifax is the only
major UK bank to open all of its branches on Saturdays.

The next TV ad, which is ready for
release, will showcase Halifax’s newly launched savers’ prize draw

Press and outdoor channels will be
used to promote Halifax’s challenger identity, and the new ads will
also extend into cinemas.

Halifax will be using a variety of
methods such as daily customer service ratings as well as broader
monthly and quarterly consumer studies to gather feedback and
assess effectiveness.

Scoping out the competition,
Nicholson said sister brand Lloyds TBS advertising is well
recognised by consumers.

“It is well understood and polite”
he added. “I think among the banking sector the Lloyds advertising
in probably leading the way.”

To build on the challenger image
and improve customer service, Halifax has introduced an internal
‘Bright Start’ programme for employees as well.

“We have engaged 1,000 employees in
this programme,” Nicholson said.

“Our bright sparks are absolutely
the centre of our business and they challenge everyone through out
the business to keep a huge focus on making sure we do the right
thing for customers.”

Halifax is aiming to build the
challenger identity further through Facebook and YouTube links.

Throughout the fourth quarter many
more social media elements will be added, and members of the public
will be able to join the Halifax choir online.

“It is Halifax’s ambition to create the biggest virtual choir in
the world,” Nicholson said.