Established in 2002, Kiwibank is a New Zealand-based bank with more than 800,000 customers competing against bigger, Australia-based banks like ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac. Australian banks had long dominated New Zealand’s financial industry, sucking as much as $3 billion annually in profits from its smaller neighbor. But in 2002, that changed with the launch of Kiwibank. In only eight years, Kiwibank has grown to over $10 billion in assets, 700,000 customers and 300 branches, more than any other bank in New Zealand.
Thanks to a partnership with New Zealand’s postal system many PostShops (“post offices”) also double as a Kiwibank branch, giving the bank a number of advantages: lower overhead, massive savings in capital expenditures, and extended hours including weekends. Thanks to this unique partnership, Kiwibank is the only New Zealand based financial institution with national reach.
That’s why Kiwibank is loud and proud about being 100% New Zealand owned, billing itself as the people’s bank of choice.
One thing you’ll notice: consistency pays. They’ve stuck with their tangy green color since inception. That’s over a decade where they’ve only used one color. That takes commitment and discipline.
Please note: The work shown below spans the entirety of Kiwibank’s existence. Not all of it is current. Much of the bank’s recent work has come from Designworks, a New Zealand firm specializing in brand identity. You can click on any image to enlarge it.
“We’re a brand built by New Zealanders for New Zealanders, and that gives us the permission and the passion to embrace being Kiwi with all our hearts,” reads the first sentence in the Kiwibank brand identity guidelines book (which you can download by clicking here). “We embrace our history, our future and our culture. It means knowing the ‘in’ jokes that are uniquely Kiwi, as well as having the courage and attitude to use them. It means using words and phrases that could only come from this part of the world and weaving them into our world. We are locals, and we’re proud of it.”
The pop-up container branch featured floor-length windows with plant graphics that reference the New Zealand outdoors, reinforcing the notion of the bank’s rural heritage and strengthening the offering as being uniquely Kiwi. Subtle illumination highlight the backdrop of natural materials like plywood and timber finishes, reflecting Kiwibank’s brand position as “the bank you own – in your own back yard.”
Kiwibank branches are unique in many ways. First, they share are co-located inside New Zealand’s post offices. That means they don’t have the luxury of space. Kiwibank’s compact layout accomplishes what most banks typically spread across thousands of square feet. Even though branches are the “traditional channel” in retail financial services, Kiwibank takes a decidedly untraditional approach. Their open floor plan is accented with neat features, like the wall of take-one brochures (shown below).
Home Hunter App
Kiwibank’s app is designed to help prospective homebuyers access all the information they need in one handy tool. The ‘Home Hunter’ app includes home listings (of course), a pre-approval option for potential borrowers, a cool augmented reality feature, and a “sunshine tracker” that will tell you how much daylight a particular house gets at various times of the year as well as how warm/cold the climate gets. The can be accessed by the public for free on smartphones, tablets and desktop units.
Kiwibank gets staff to invest themselves into the brand personally. Shown here is a company pledge on a wall in the bank’s corporate office signed by nearly all their employees. Shown below is a fun promotional poster designed specifically to get employees involved in a product campaign — it’s fun, and it instructs.
Kiwibank launched an initiative offering free “Biz Cabs” rides to business people. The message: banking with Kiwibank Business saves you time and money. Brochures provide passengers with more key information and a call to action.
Personal Financial Management Tool
Kiwibank has its own proprietary PFM tool called ‘Heaps,’ which it allows anyone to use regardless of whether they are a customer of the bank or not.