Earlier this week I heard a wonderful story about Rabobank. It drew on the bank’s roots as an agriculture bank and how the company has grown but never strayed from its heritage. Then I was told that in The Netherlands, Rabobank is considered more cool than…Heineken, Nike and even Google!
On the CoolBrand study, Rabobank was ranked number 3 — after Apple and Hema.
A cool bank? Now how cool is that!
As Emmie Steeghs from our Eindhoven office tells it:
Their main advertising is around sport sponsoring. They sponsor a bicycle team which is a contender in the Tour de France and other big bike races which are popular here in Europe. Up till recently their spokesperson was the captain of the Dutch ladies field hockey team who are World and Olympic champions. This spokesperson, Fatima de Moreiro de Melo, is Dutch with a Portuguese father and considered a ‘babe’ as are most of the ladies of the Dutch field hockey team. She stopped playing for the Dutch team after last year’s
Olympics and is now becoming a TV presenter and actrice. She did quite well for Rabo. Rabo is one of the few sports sponsors who actually made it work across all their communications.
Their approach is very down to earth. They live the Dutch saying, “If you behave normally you are already behaving crazy enough.” And that is also a bit their approach to banking. They are solid, dependable, frugal and they are very much in tune with the Dutch pragmatism.
And here is what one of their branches looks like:
Rabobank branding stays true to its roots in agriculture and farming. The founding story is carried through in all of their visual and verbal language and experiential design.
Here is a case where their branding is deeply rooted in their metaphor. And it is impossible for me to resist using the metaphorical puns.
And for those interested in the importance of sports sponsorships, here is Fatima.
Google, try to match that!