How big ideas drive RBC’s new brand platform

RBC has developed a new brand platform, “Ideas Happen Here,” just ahead of a major Olympics advertising blitz.

Mary DePaoli, RBC’s executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, said the new platform is rooted in ideas as a catalyst for growth and transformation, and the company’s role in harnessing their power to help its clients thrive and communities prosper.

“Our view of the future is that ideas drive our business, and also drive every interaction we have with our clients, our communities, charitable partners and topics that define thought leadership,” said DePaoli. “At its core, making ideas happen is our central business [and] the need of our clients and communities.”

DePaoli said the platform is particularly appropriate as the world slowly returns to normal after the pandemic. History has shown that a powerful age of ideas often follows a time of crisis, she said. As the global community rebuilds, consumers reassess their wants and needs, and companies reinvent themselves to meet those changing consumer habits.

“We are on the cusp of what we think is yet another powerful age of ideas,” she said. “Our pursuit of ideas that inspire us to challenge paradigms is really about introducing new offerings that go beyond banking, partnering in an innovative way with other brands and even our employees.”

The creative theme of ideas is being applied to the Olympics campaign by showing how new ideas for training and development can drive elite performance.

The multi-faceted Olympics campaign is focusing on RBC Training Ground, the financial services company’s five-year-old athlete development program, as well as three of its services: Financial advisor tool Nomi; virtual advisor tool My Advisor, and its newest product, RBC Vantage.

A 90-second spot for RBC Training Ground, “An idea whose time has come,” focuses on graduates of the program who are representing Canada at the Tokyo Games, including rower Charles Alexander; decathlete Pierce LePage and cyclist Kelsey Mitchell (see it below). They are the first Olympians to come through the program since its launch in 2016.

Creative executions running throughout the Olympics will include :60s, :30s, :15s, as well as six-second cut-downs for digital. All of the ads are connected by a creative thread that demonstrates the power of a simple idea and how it comes to life for consumers.

The Nomi creative, for example, shows Olympic diver Jennifer Abel using the product to make her day-to-day life simpler, faster and easier, while Team RBC ambassador Brooke Henderson will be featured in the spots promoting the MyAdvisor product.

RBC’s Olympics activation will also include a nightly content series developed in association with CBC called “RBC Spotlight” that will profile various athletes. It has also developed a program called “Bring the Noise,” which it describes as an “immersive audio soundscape” that recreates the sounds of events taking place at various Olympic venues and includes real soundbites from RBC Olympians’ family members and friends offering words of encouragement.

The campaign marks a return to more big-picture brand marketing for RBC after the pandemic forced it to postpone marketing programs and pivot towards different approaches focusing on Covid relief programs and client-centric marketing.

“The programs and initiatives that we thought were well in flight were brought to a screeching halt by Covid, but we quickly determined that there was an opportunity to innovate, so we did that around client relief programs, and helping our clients,” said DePaoli.

The Tokyo Games are the beginning of what is shaping up as a busy marketing period for RBC that includes a new worldwide sponsorship agreement with golf’s Ryder Cup, as well as activations tied to the Toronto International Film Festival and LiveNation.

“Now that we’re starting to see restrictions easing, we’re right back with energy and enthusiasm,” said DePaoli. “I would say we’ve learned a lot over the pandemic, including how to be resilient, how to be creative within significant constraints, and to never lose sight of the consumer and their needs.”

Agency partners for RBC’s Olympics activation are Dentsu One, with Initiative for media. Stellick Marketing Communications is also the company’s partner on the RBC Training Ground program.

Photo of Kelsey Mitchell by Dave Holland, Canadian Olympic Committee

Chris Powell