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Supporting Orange
“Our Orange charm offensive proved to be an excellent platform for the bundled power of the new ING”
Linking a brand to football can be done two ways. One is throwing everything ánd the kitchen sink at the public, making sure that the brand’s involvement in the sport is etched into every last functioning brain. ING chose to connect to football the relatively slow way, at a safe distance without any related product campaigns running at the same time as its Orange merger message. On the football pitch colour is everything. To distinguish who is the home team, the adversary or even the referee you need something instantly recognisable to hold on to. Decisions are made in a split second, game-breaking passes are given to flashes of uniforms in the corner of an eye. Recognition breeds trust. Trust wins games. Just ask ING’s Monique Opdam, Director of Communications, who tells us more about how the ING brand managed to win the hearts of 8.1 million Dutch clients during the European Football Championship of 2008. How? By changing blue to orange. Monique continues: “Our Orange charm offensive proved to be an excellent platform for the bundled power of Postbank and ING Bank into the new ING”

Orange is the way to go
The brand decided to go with sport sponsoring. ING Bank had to address its massive customer base, and only one game really qualified to cover them all: football, Holland’s number-one sport. A logical move, especially since ING Bank has been inconspicuously sponsoring the Dutch squad for years. Before, ING Bank never felt the need for above-the-line communication, but used the sponsorship mainly as a relationship management tool, an incentive as old as time. Times change, though. In the long run, the ING brand wants to claim the colour orange and has fleshed out a number of steps to do so. Sharing a lion as a logo is a nice coincidence, of course! Monique says: “ING will visibly crank up its relationship with the Dutch team. By associating with the Dutch Eleven the brand will generate sympathy and undivided attention, paving the way to tell the story about how two banks will become one. The ING sponsorship of the Dutch eleven is more relevant than any other partner of the Dutch Football Team,” according to Monique. “We share a colour, a lion and almost half of the Dutch population that’s banking with us.”

Where Postbank’s brand values are directed at making banking accessible, ING adds expertise to the mix. These values were both communicated in the campaign.

Hospitality
ING’s hospitably programme around the games in Austria and Switzerland is further fancified by the presence of Frits and Barbara Barend. The expertly father and daughter played a huge role in the hospitality around the European Championship, acting as hosts for business relations that were invited to Austria and Switzerland. Afterwards they undersigned ING Bank’s value expertise by discussing each game at length and sharing their valued opinions exclusively with the group.

Golden goal
The European Championship campaign had no sales or turnover-related commercial targets. Ratings of its commercials and top of mind were through the roof, though. “Measuring the campaign’s effect came with a surprising result as well: nobody thought it was strange or unfitting that Postbank’s typecast Jan and Ellen appeared in an ING commercial together with the Dutch number-one football legend Johan Cruijff,” Monique says.

Sponsor of Orange
The perfect addition to ING Bank’s sweeping TV presence and fixed print moments could – and can – be found online. Its high-quality web platform Sponsor of Orange (www.sponsorvanoranje.nl) featured exclusive content, combining Euro-2008 facts and figures with deepening input from the likes of footballer-cum-analyst Jan van Halst and the aforementioned Frits and Barbara Barend. Naturally Euro-nomics constituted one of the main draws, but the kids weren’t forgotten either. For the young and young-at-heart the brand served up several cool games and even went so far as to build its own ING stadium in the famous Habbo Hotel. Moving in with someone can be stressful, and the thought of familiarising 8.1 million people with a new name and identity frankly takes our breath away. ING has thought long and hard about the best way to inform and excite the current Postbank and ING Bank clients about the launch of the new ING in the beginning of 2009. Colour-coordination, efficiency and patience are key words that apply to any move, be it to new dwellings or financial institutions. One thing stands out in this Euro-2008 campaign, however. By lowering the threshold to Postbank and ING Bank customers through the power of football, it managed to rally and cry among the ranks as an accepted, trusted member of its target group. With this, ING successfully turned their new bank into a warm home.

The future is in Euro-nomics
The concept of ‘Euro-nomics’ – or EK-nomie in Dutch - is another interesting part of ING’s communication strategy. For Euro 2008 the brand called in their own football-related economic research. Euronomics combines football with economic developments in society, translating these into understandable issues for consumers and press. A challenge in its own right, since the Economics Department of ING usually deals with issues like oil prices, interest rates and other heavy economic issues. Three weeks before Euro 2008’s kick-off the Dutch press was invited to the Euro-nomics debate, where the results of ING’s research were presented interactively. The most talked-about Euro research tried to measure the value of football, by asking questions, such as: ‘how much money the average European would be willing to lay down for the title?’. The results garnered a lot of attention, and we think we know why. The Dutch were willing to pay 30 euros for the cup, while the Germans were the most generous with 80 euros at the ready. No wonder we weren’t invited to the final. Euro-nomics resulted in almost two hundred publications in a variety of media. “It’s steadily becoming a strong PR tool for ING, proving that banks and bank-related affairs are a whole lot less low-interest than thought before,” Monique says. “This means that brands in the financial sector, and especially the bank sector, all have immense potential to really start making a difference.”

Tactical strike
The European Championship of 2008 proved to be a successful first step in the right direction. The brand ran a campaign in print and on TV, subtly nuancing both its presence in the football madness as well as the planned merger. Magazines and newspapers had ads with a blue and an orange lion, talking about the Dutch team at the tournament; dually interpretable copy that applied to the two brands merging and the blue lion turning orange as well. The brand made sure that the ads were totally in sync with the games at hand, hence slyly fitting its message into the subconscious world of its football-crazed public. They were the only advertiser who even had a special commercial for the loss in the quarter final. On television the big guns were called in. Figureheads like Johan Cruijff, Jan Mulder and Ellen the funny Postbank girl were filmed as they sat in the stadium, talking about Oranje’s next showdown. Incidentally, no other brand used current rankings and games to the extent of ING’s effort.

The mother of courtships
Around May 2007 the announcement came that the ING Bank and Postbank would join forces under the name ING. But before the two icon brands become one in 2009, ING Bank’s and Postbank’s 8.1 million bill holders should be allowed to grow accustomed to the idea that they are going to be banking with another brand. A bank with a different name, corporate identity and colour and with other attributes than the consciously chosen bank they’re used to. To lead the way, communication is channelled into three streams:

Coolbrands: Maarten & Anouk in discussion with Monique Opdam

Charm offensive campaign targets
Wooing new friends isn’t done over night, and you’d better come to the door with more than chocolates and roses alone. Therefore ING carefully defined five goals that the campaign should achieve: • Make the connection between ING Bank, Postbank and football; • Link the colour orange to ING; • Generate likeability for the ING brand with former Postbank clients; • Give Postbank and ING Bank clients the feeling that ING has no threshold; • Generate company pride with all ING employees.

CEO ING Retail Nick Jue | Number of employees ING Retail Netherlands 10,000 | Main target group Mass consumer and small to medium-sized business | Primary advertising media TV, radio, print and online

30,000 Orange ING Ambassadors
In order to instill the same lion’s pride internally, ING charmed the pants off its 30,000 employees too. Or shirts, to be exact. A promotion with personalised Orange T-shirts proved very popular, and incited a string of other promotions within ING. And not just with spectacular giveaways, mind you; among its own ING went at it with the same fervour as in the outside world. It activated Euro-nomics with a Euro Quiz on its already Orange-tinted intranet, served coffee and tea in squadadorned cups and organised penalty-shootouts at several branches, to name a couple. As a result, most employees were completely in sync with ING’s concept concerning football sponsoring and considered themselves true ING ambassadors, proud to be a part of the brand that supported the Dutch Eleven.

Postbank Blue

ING Bank & Postbank Blue & Orange Lions

ING Bank Orange

Postbank’s brand values – Easy, Accessible, Clear - click nicely with ING Bank and will largely be maintained, as they are exactly what ING needs to complement its brand value Expertise. In order to render the transition as smoothly as possible, ING developed an all-enveloping strategy. A charm offensive, if you will, aiming to wow Postbank clients into accepting ING as their new, trusted handler of finances. All likeability generated in this prelude will cushion the imminent integration.

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