Child's Life used for Ad Campaign which is not Brand Strategy

NAB-That’s Not a Brand Strategy, That’s a Campaign Strategy


A number of recent articles regarding a new advertising and communications campaign by NAB refer to the initiative as a ‘new brand strategy’ and a ‘brand refresh’ for the Bank.

The commentary has identified and reinforced what I believe is a constant misnomer perpetrated by advertising agencies and marketing managers and directors (and easily-led marketing journalists).

Too many so-called marketing experts get their brand strategy mixed up with their campaign strategy!

The two strategies, whilst inter-related are not one-and-the-same.

I speak from first hand observations having spent 20+ years as a creative director working on national and multi-national brands – executing and creating ‘Campaign Strategies’ and, more recently for the last 9 years working with every sized business from start-up to global businesses developing ‘Brand Strategies’.

The recent NAB article is just the latest addition to this ongoing misrepresentation between ‘Brand’ and ‘Campaign’

My overall career observation is the word ‘Strategy’ is one of the most overused and abused terms in the marketing lexicon.

When prefixed with the word Brand even more so.

A Brand Strategy goes deep within an organisation – to people, purpose, product, vision – whereas a campaign strategy is simple one slice of a much bigger strategic pie.

So let’s agree call an advertising campaign exactly what it is.

The aforementioned advertising campaign is nothing more than a transition from a previous advertising campaign of 4 year’s duration which was based around the premise of: ‘More give, less take’.

According to the Chief Marketing Officer, the current (new) campaign promises that moving to, or dealing with, the NAB is about ‘More than Money’ (as an aside I can’t really think of any other reason I would want to deal with a bank other than money).

Further in the article, when asked whether the new branding (again, it isn’t ‘new branding’ it’s a new advertising campaign’) wasn’t just a “nice little tagline or some simple, superficial things” the Chief Marketing Officer responded with: “it’s a reflection of what is happening in the business.”


Well read on, because here’s what is really happening in the business…

Finally, a brand strategy to drive and underpin communications

Almost tucked away at the conclusion of the article – was the following statement and what is clearly the underpinnings of a real brand strategy:

The bank has removed several “customer pain points” such as:

  1. a six-week waiting period and hundreds of dollars in fees for customers switching to a fixed interest rate
  2. requiring both joint account holders to be present when opening a new account
  3. and setting up a 24-hour service centre for overseas customers.

Now that’s what constitutes the beginning of a Brand Strategy –

the removal of identified barriers to customer satisfaction and new customer acquisition benefits

– none of which form a part of, or even rate a mention in, the release of the NAB’s new advertising campaign.

BrandQuest is a strategy and brand management consultancy that intrinsically believes that great brands are born of the founders and staff who work there. They are not the result of an outsourced creative endeavour but the cumulative knowledge that a company possesses.

Since 2007, BrandQuest has developed a process that within a 3 week time frame can extract and refine this inner knowledge into a powerful brand strategy.

Our clients work with us because they seek:

  1. Increased brand and business value
  2. Alignment, clarity and direction for their Branding
  3. Robust, authentic and fearless advice





A no-obligation Brand Alignment Research Report across your senior management team.

Subscribe to our Newsletter