Vancity’s brand positioning emphasizes its power to drive change

Who: Vancity, with Taxi for creative and strategy, OpenMind for media.

What: “Financial Force for Change,” a new brand positioning which states loudly and proudly that Vancity is tackling some of the biggest issues facing society, such as social and economic inequality and the climate crisis.

When & Where: The campaign launched March 29 and will run throughout the year. It consists of multiple executions running across TV, digital out-of-home, online video, programmatic and display, and social.

Why: As a financial co-operative, Vancity has always prioritized reinvesting in people and communities over maximizing profits.

“People really want what Vancity is selling,” said Lizzie Dabous, managing director at Taxi Vancouver. “But they’ve never done a great job of communicating it to the public… They’ve just been really humble about it. And if you are going to be humble, you are going to be forgotten. Especially in a space that is so competitive.”

Vancity had been planning a brand refresh before the pandemic, but those core brand principles about people and planet have become even more important in the past year, when the pandemic has shone a bright light on “underlying inequalities.”

How: “What we really wanted to do—as succinctly as possible—was reintroduce Vancity as the financial institution that uses the tools of finance to create change where we live, work and play,” said Dabous.

The :30 launch spot is presented as a rallying cry to join the Vancity “movement.” It shows how banking with Vancity can contribute to positive societal change, with an emphasis on the climate. With each transaction—from buying a house, to investing, to tapping to pay at retail—Vancity members are contributing to that movement. “One that believes that when you use your money to do what’s right, nothing can stop us,” says the narrator. “That’s when you become a financial force for change.”

There are a few negative visual references to big business and big banks, as well as some pointed headlines in display ads—such as “We’re finance pros. Not finance bros” and “There’s money in oil, just not ours”—but for the most part Vancity is taking the high ground, remaining positive about the good changes that are possible. “We want to welcome the Big Five into the environmental space, we want to welcome them into talking more about diversity and inclusion because Vancity has been doing it since day one,” said Dabous.

And we quote: “As we recover from one crisis, we have to take action on the next one on our doorstep—the climate emergency. Financial institutions have a crucial role to play in making sure we transition to a clean and fair economy—one that leaves no one behind. And consumers have the ability to be a Financial Force for Change.” — Kelly McNeill-Sproxton, vice-president of marketing, Vancity


David Brown