The new brand has a new sound logo to accompany it at the closing of ads or radio snippets which sounds like African drums beating. This is a bold and confident sound that I feel announces the return of a once respected African bank. Colour also plays a great role in their visual language as the different shades of red brings depth to the brand and further separates it from the competition. Their authentic photography tells real stories of aspiring entrepreneurs breaking new frontiers, it captures the heart of “Africanacity”.
To understand the brand’s story we need to understand a little bit of the history of Absa. Founded in 1991, Absa managed to extend its asset base quite dramatically through the merger of a couple financial service providers at the time. Up until 1998 these financial services (banks) were trading under their original names when they all fused together to form one single brand. This gave birth to their new corporate identity “Absa Group Limited”.
In 2005 South Africa received its largest direct foreign investment to date when Barclays Bank UK purchased 56.4% stake in Absa. Since then Absa has changed its name from “Absa Group Limited” to “Barclays Africa Group Limited” and again back to “Absa Group Limited” after Barclays decided to reduce ownership in the group giving Absa the opportunity to rebrand and reposition themselves as a truly South African bank.
“Our ownership change has given us the opportunity to relaunch Absa as a different bank and we needed a new visual identity to mark the substantial re-set we’re making as a business,” said David Wingfield, head of Absa Group Marketing. “Our new brand is an expression of the new identity we are creating as an entrepreneurial, digitally-led bank with deep knowledge of African markets and with global scalability.”
When attempting to rebrand, consider your customer’s needs, understand who you are as a brand and allow visual and verbal language to reflect the authenticity of your brand’s vision and mission.