EQ Bank keeps it simple

The digital-only bank, looking to compete with others in the space, talks about its benefits in a way the average Canadian can understand.

EQ Bank is using simple messaging to reach consumers who may not be as financially savvy.

With its integrated “Ask More of Your Account” campaign, the online bank is touting the benefits of a high everyday interest rate, as well as the flexibility of its chequing account, which has no fees and unlimited transactions.  

Mahima Poddar, SVP, digital banking and strategy at Equitable Bank, concedes that Scotiabank’s Tangerine was the pioneer in the digital-only banking space, but says there is still a big opportunity in the market and her brand has worked to create a strong value proposition. With the new campaign, the bank’s offerings are spelled out in a straightforward way, because unless a customer is particularly savvy, things like the separation of chequing and savings isn’t one that’s well understood.

Poddar says the campaign is a a deposit play, and that it sees it picking up a lot of customers from traditional retail banks. While the target is broad, she adds that it also has “some customers already comfortable with digital banking, so we are competing with Tangerine and Simplii.”

Caleb Rubin, VP marketing for Equitable Bank, adds that the branch-less bank wants to give back by emphasizing that they should have ability to both earn high interest and have the flexibility of regular chequing. He says consumers have accepted that you need different accounts to do different things, but creating something with high interest that also lets people use their money freely is a differentiator.

“[It's] an out-of-the-box thought for an industry that can sometimes be set in its ways,” Rubin says.

He also says that there is an opportunity to have more fun with tone when it comes to advertising in the financial space, which is often serious (with the current campaign, there’s a self-awareness as the principal engages with the “voice-over guy” and past campaigns to promote GICs have included jaunty music, elephants and exploding bananas).

The integrated campaign launched Sept. 30., with creative and media handled by Union. Rubin says there is a “fairly significant buy” on social and search engines, with OOH at Billy Bishop Airport, as well as a Toronto streetcar takeover.

According to the Canadian Banking Association, in-branch banking is slipping in popularity, with 88% of Canadians reporting using online banking in the last year. Also, slightly more than half (53%) say online banking is their most common banking method.