Bank Cler is a small player in the Swiss retail banking sector. It was the first bank in Switzerland to embrace sustainable business practices and to commit to equal pay for women and men.
The bank faced three “home-made” challenges: Awareness of the old Bank Coop brand was very low, the lowest of all national retail banks. (The “Coop” brand was franchised from a popular supermarket chain but apparently did not help in the banking sector). The overall client base was slowly but steadily shrinking. The visual appearance was stale and outdated, most notably in the physical branches.
On top of this, digital transformation required both operational and cultural change. Customers expect easier and more convenient services at low costs.
Above all, the bank needed to increase brand awareness. Therefore, we created a bold new brand that stands out from the conservative Swiss mainstream. We changed the brand name from the misleading “Bank Coop” to “Bank Cler”. Cler is Rhaeto-Romanic for clear, plain, simple. This conveys the main message: Bank Cler wants to make banking as straightforward and convenient as possible.
We also induced a shift in mindset. Today, Bank Cler is truly embracing its challenger position. It stopped emulating mainstream competitors and started challenging them with different messages and innovative offerings. This led to the creation of “Zak,” Switzerland’s first mobile-only bank.
The rebranding greatly revitalized the whole bank. On brand awareness, the new brand overtook the old one in the targeted urban areas six months after launch. One year later it is neck-and-neck with larger competitors. Market research revealed a significant change in perception: Bank Cler is seen as fresher and more innovative than most direct competitors. Finally, Bank Cler is attracting more and younger clients.