On #BankWars And The Branding Lessons We Should Learn

23 July 2018 / By Huenation

[HueNation]--On Friday, July 20, 2018, Sterling Bank pulled a publicity stunt that has since generated #BankWars, another trending topic on Twitter. Sterling Bank posted an ad that depicts its competitors as not fit to provide quality banking services to Nigerians. Access Bank was portrayed as the bank that brings retrogression to customers, GTB as a bank that cages customers (possibly an allusion to the fact that you are likely to spend more than the time you scheduled in a GTB banking hall, they are always busy!), almighty FirstBank was portrayed as a big old Elephant that would take customers nowhere and Union Bank as a horse that can't even take customers to their goals/dreams.

Sterling Bank's move and the responses it has since generated are all indications that Al Ries' Law of Publicity is after all, not just a proposition. Obviously, Sterling Bank has no other reason for flying that ad other than to generate publicity and what do brands thrive on if not publicity. The ad was well planned in such a way that all banks with credible online presence were dissed making those who are not included seem like low level rappers not worthy of diss by a popular rapper in an epic rap feud. As comical as the move seems, there are branding lessons to learn from it.



Quickly, customers are people who have the money to patronise your brand and actually patronises your brand but you see consumers, they don't have the money (in some cases, they do but they will not patronise you) but they can sure refer your brand to customers who will pay. Simplified, you own a cake shop, a child (consumer) sees your cakes and loves them but obviously cannot buy them so he tells his mother (customer) to buy the cake for him. Have you ever thought of the reason why the ad wasn’t run on a newspaper or TV? It won't get to the kind of audience that can make it trend; the youths. One way or the other, the youths will tell older generations about the stunt, or even convince them to open accounts with Sterling Bank. We should also not neglect the fact some youths will open accounts with Sterling Bank for no other reason than the ad.


If Sterling Bank had made that controversial copy a full fledged commercial, they probably will not generate as much conversation as they have and will even spend more but look at how something as simple as an Instagram ad and Tweet brought Nigeria talking about Sterling Bank. Their creative team must have thought that the other banks, in a bid to redeem their "dignity" would respond and once they do, people will have something to talk about which they did. When people start talking about your brand, there are chances that your sales will increase and trust me, Sterling Bank will certainly steal away some customers of other banks.


When Wakanda was in vogue thanks to the Black Panther Movie, AY made a whole show themed after the movie and it was a success. Although short-lived, the #Ajah2Berger trend too brought businesses to many brands. Few brands have started leveraging on the #BanksWar trend too. Even FCMB, a bank that until recently, we all think wasn’t featured in the diss took advantage of it with a tweet. It will however be sad if initiators of the trend, Sterling Bank gain little or nothing from the trend. I expect marketers of Sterling Bank to flood the streets of Lagos by Monday to market the bank to new customers. I would not mind opening an account with them you know.


Among all the responses that Sterling Bank got, Access Bank's is still the most epic. "We will travel on an imaginary rocket too if we were a one-customer Microfinance Bank but with ten million customers and counting, we rather bring the galaxy to you." If managed well, Access Bank too would sure make more customers through the trend. A campaign like "Partner with a bank that defends your dignity/pride" would surely go a long way in increasing the population of the bank's customers.

As the #BanksWar go on, and they all hopefully make more customers and of course, money from the trend, you should not forget to get your branding right too. And if you are confused about the team to help your brand grow, let HueNation Media come to the rescue. Call or WhatsApp us on +234 802 922 1426 | +234 706 128 2516 to get a quote.

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