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Design 18 Jun 2019

Secrets for pulling off the impossible

Some of the biggest secrets in business are known to just a handful of people. Think of the recipes for Coca-Cola, or the KFC coating, or the ingredients in WD-40. But when it comes to secretly planning to change the brand for an entire business - and swapping out tens of thousands of physical and digital logos in the process - letting only a few people in on the secret is never going to be enough.

BBVA Design Team Rob Brown

Which is where we found ourselves when we decided to embark on the biggest change in appearance BBVA had seen in more than two decades.

The scale was immense - I mean, have you ever worked on a project with 4000 employees?  For 12 months?

That sort of coordination takes more than a village and creates its own special kind of crazy.  In the end, being mad for a year was worth it.

And here’s why.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime project.  A career defining moment for many. And an opportunity to showcase what a team from nine different countries in very diverse roles from design to legal and real estate to marketing to technology to communications (and many more) can accomplish if truly acting as one global team.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime project.  A career defining moment for many.

For BBVA our ability to deliver a program so seemingly insurmountable, together in this way, is a testament to the power we wield from our transformation to an agile organization has given us. I figured: If we can embrace successfully building products and services on a global scale using teams of talented BBVA'ers across multiple countries, why not try to do so with a brand project?

So we rolled up our sleeves, asked our global brand agency Landor to assist in the endeavor and started researching.

It started by seeking the answers to some crucial questions. So, we quizzed our employees.  Loads of them.  We quizzed our leadership team.  We questioned our board. Critically, we also spoke to more than 4800 customers and clients across our footprint.

But this wasn't a case of merely asking, Do you like this newer version of our logo? Or, What do you think of the font we have chosen? Those physical symbols of a brand are really the end result - they come out of a far deeper examination and understanding of what we as a brand actually represent.

So instead we started broader - we wanted to know what people loved about their banking experiences. In fact, we wanted to know whether people truly even loved anything related to banking? Turns out they do.  When the service, the process or the experience is simple, intuitive and truly helpful…and rapidly so…people do indeed  love it.

Critically, we also spoke to more than 4800 customers and clients across our footprint.

What about digital banking - what real difference does being able to bank where you want, when you want and how you want, actually make. Equally, we asked about the future - what do you want us to do, how should we evolve, what advice do you need to make the most of your money, and increasingly, your data.

BBVA en Peru: las mejores imagenes del lanzamiento de la nueva marca global

New BBVA Logo

We also wanted to know what people thought of banking brands, and especially BBVA's legacy brands like BBVA Bancomer or BBVA Compass, etc. How would customers react if we dropped these? One particularly tough question from our Executive Chairman was "Will customers attrite?"

We also wanted to know how would customers feel being part of a global brand, albeit it a recognized digital and innovative brand.

And finally, of course, we did want to know what customers and employees thought of our in-house designed logo ideas.  Which one better fits our purpose of bringing the age of opportunity to everyone.  Which one fits better in BBVA's digital world?  Which one is the most differentiated, modern and unique against a sea of corporate-y banking logos.

What we learned is that people thought the change would have little negative business impact and yet huge upsides - for example around things like access to world class products and services and best expertise.

Perhaps you have seen the global campaign, or perhaps you have seen the road closures and cranes around the BBVA buildings in your city, perhaps you have noticed BBVA’s killer world-leading mobile banking app has the new logo or perhaps the local branch in your hometown has a new facade.

These were all planned for in a one-day launch.  One day, and to be precise it involved changes to 700+ buildings and thousands of branches and hundreds of thousands of other physical and digital components in just 24-hours. That was hard work coordinated by thousands.  Worldwide coordination.

That was hard work coordinated by thousands.  Worldwide coordination.

But a necessary step to ensure BBVA continues to deliver brilliantly consistent customer experiences to you all.  All 75 million of you!

So returning to the start, for us the secret sauce was actually quite simple.

Understand your value and why people want to bank and work with you, speak with as many people as you can and work as a team, and ensure you are positioned for the future.

Do that, and you end up being unified under one truly digital global brand, just like the digital giants.