SYDNEY: Despite recent scandals, the reputation of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has held up with customers, thanks in part to its focus on enduring values, a leading executive has argued.

The bank’s name has this year been involved in issues around questionable financial planning, a ponzi scheme and money laundering. “It's been a pretty tough time,” Vittoria Shortt, Group Executive, Group Marketing and Strategy, admitted to the recent ADMA Global Forum.

But she maintained that the CBA brand and reputation remained robust. “When we looked into that to understand why that was the case, we found it was the investments we had been making into our customer satisfaction, our products and services that were really holding up our brand reputation,” she said.

And that, Shortt suggested, is the way to approach the future, rather than attempting to predict all the changes that will surely affect the market over the next ten years.

She preferred to build a strategy around four values that are unlikely to change over time: security, service, simplicity and guidance. (For more details read WARC’s report: Australia's Commonwealth Bank on building brand longevity).

That has guided the banks’ recent CAN platform which saw it ask people, through its ATM network, how they felt about topics including the viability of owning a home, whether children will be adequately prepared for the future, the state of business and whether Australia has an inclusive society.

“It changed a lot of our marketing tone, the way we communicate and what we talk about,” Shortt reported. “We try to show our customers how we can help them with these questions, or what our role is to help answer these questions.”

It has also led to new initiatives aimed at improving the customer experience, but for the brand to remain robust, she stressed the need to flow on into the marketing strategy.

“All of the wonderful insights that we have about customers and their preferences and how they're changing and how they respond has got to go into the strategy,” said Shorrt.

Sourced from WARC