Months after its major brand refresh in South Africa and other subsidiaries, new digital interfaces and a new approach to integrated advice, First National Bank has been named the Strongest Banking Brand in the World in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2023 Report. The bank emerged as the leader among the world’s 500 largest banks, with an impressive Brand Strength Index score of 93 (out of 100), a AAA+ rating, and a brand value of US$1,540billion.
The Strongest Banking Brand acknowledgement is determined through an independent brand valuation, where scores for independent measures are informed by brand investment (including products, service and innovation), brand equity (functional and emotional drivers), and financial performance data (including current revenue and price premium). In the 2023 rankings, First National Bank improved across several metrics, including positive brand sentiment and various financial performance measures (including improved forecasted growth rates). Additionally, a strong banking brand should be able to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences. This is certainly true for First National Bank, which has been at the forefront of introducing new technologies and platforms that make financial and lifestyle services more convenient and accessible for customers. It was the first bank in Africa to introduce a mobile banking app and online banking, allowing customers to manage their money from anywhere at any time.
First National Bank CEO, Jacques Celliers, says one of the key reasons for their continued success is their commitment to platform innovation and advice-led financial services. “Our advice-led approach to financial services offers customers the full benefits of personalised help across our range of solutions. This helps customers make more informed decisions about their finances, such as identifying potential financial risks and opportunities. Overall, our aim is to help customers achieve their goals and aspirations by improving their financial well-being. Our success over the 185 years of our brand’s existence is also due to the high levels of trust and loyalty shown by our customers, and this is something we deeply cherish.”
The Chief Marketing Officer at First National Bank, Faye Mfikwe, adds that: “Our recent efforts to refresh our iconic brand, interfaces and value propositions was not only designed to help customers with their needs, but to equally broaden our brand’s appeal and transcend geographical limitations. This accolade gives us impetus to continue making a difference in the lives of our customers and the communities we serve. Furthermore, we believe that a one-of-a-kind global recognition, such as this one, can be instrumental in inspiring hope to people on our continent about the limitless possibilities when we all strive to be #changeables at heart”.
Highlighting the bank’s far-reaching impact in Africa, First National Bank Ghana’s CEO, Warren Adams, indicated that their commitment to partner in building sustainable communities has also contributed to its strong brand. The bank has implemented various initiatives to support sustainable development, with an emphasis on environmental and social responsibility. “Over the years, First National Bank has increased its efforts to broaden financial inclusion across the African continent, investing in local markets to open purpose-built branches and other points of presence. Similarly, there have been strong partnerships with local businesses through agile business models that enable communities and the bank to derive shared value. Key among this is the expansion of our unmatched services beyond our owned brick-and-mortar structures with our Agency Plus partners. They have become the bank next door, accessible within the community to help you complete many basic transactions in real time,” he added.
Jeremy Sampson from Brand Finance says: “We’re pleased to once again see that brands on the African continent continue to make their presence felt across the world. Our survey comes at a crucial time when brands are facing global uncertainty, and our models can, to a degree, become a yardstick for brands that are focused on building a sustainable future and businesses. The Strongest Brand accolade is highly contested, which means any brand that emerges at the top can be proud of its efforts.”