Absa Bank: a Brand Strategy Study

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  • Topic: Brand, Branding, Brand management
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The Absa Group | Brand Strategy

Discuss the relationship between the brand identity and brand image

A Brand identity can be defined as the particular and unique meaning and value that a brand aspires to create and sustain. Brand Vision, Positioning, Promise, Personality, Values, Mantra and Language are the defining roles that comprise a brand’s identity. Most importantly, it is the brand’s view of itself and what it strives to be, both in the market place and in the minds of their target audience. Brand image, contrastingly, refers to how the brand is perceived by outsiders and most importantly by its target audience. Brand image can be strongly influenced by marketing, as well as a consumer’s direct interaction and own experiences with the brand. In order to achieve an intrinsically healthy brand, the brand’s identity should mirror the brand’s image. However for most brands, this is an idealistic goal, as only very few brands have managed to perfectly align their identity with their image, such as Richard Branson’s Virgin brand. Absa’s main aim is to be acclaimed as the unsurpassed provider of financial services in South Africa, as well as in several other African markets. Absa promises superior benefits to all stakeholders by facilitating each of their clients in achieving their own individual ambitions.

Absa’s values include:
• Valuing people and treating them with fairness
• Demonstrating integrity in all actions
• Striving to exceed the needs of their customers
• Taking responsibility for the quality of work
• Displaying leadership in all that they do.
(Source: www.absa.co.za)

As a brand identity, Absa differentiates itself through superior service quality and competitive products, continuous innovation, and their ability to place the customer at the center of everything they do. The identity aims to demonstrate brilliant execution and delivery, with emphasis on the quality of absa staff that sets them apart from competitors. Absa defines its identity and personality as a leading contemporary financial services institution, differentiated by the fact that it is far superior amongst its competitive subjects due to its massive scale and ownership of assets. Absa’s visual and verbal language is striking and clean. In the visual identity, emphasis is placed on the first letter ‘A’, also identical to the first letter of Roman alphabet, the ‘Alpha’, which symbolises the ‘beginning’. The vibrant red used in the Absa logo gives Absa a modern feel that stands out from its competitors. Colours can establish a brand quickly and easily in the eyes of consumers in today’s society. The brand has executed its identity consistently across all media variations, and through every employee, which helps maintain its positive perception in the market. General perceptions of Absa expel themes of trustworthiness, safety and excellence. Consumers view the brand as being one of first-class quality, safety and a link the brand consistently with premium connotations. Clients do recognize Absa’s effort to cater to the customer’s needs and feel satisfied that complaints are heard and dealt with proficiently. Through direct, primary research and focus group sessions, my research conveyed an overall positive response from customers with regards to the Absa brand in a general context. Some had not experienced fantastic service from employees and felt that staff lacked a sense of friendliness and eagerness to help. 8 out of 10 people strongly felt that the actual financial services on offer from Absa were designed to meet a full spectrum of customer needs, ranging from young to middle-aged to old. The Absa brand was described by one person as being “the bank for me” as it “caters for all my student needs and understands that students are separated from working adults and therefore need to be treated, priced and looked after...
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