RHB’s CMO underlines the importance of moderation & empathy

If you haven’t seen RHB’s Merdeka Day advertisement that was done by FCB KL, you should. It’s a simple take on what’s been happening in terms of racial polarization and how all Malaysians need to be aware of how a bit of moderation and empathy can go a long way in their lives, everyday.

Marketing Magazine had the opportunity to get the opinion of Abdul Sani Abdul Murad, Group CMO at RHB, on the latest Merdeka Day campaign.

What does RHB Bank hope to gain by promoting a voice of moderation and empathy in a world that is becoming more polarized in every way possible?

As RHB, we believe that we have an enormous responsibility to behave in a way to inspire positive change in a world that is becoming more dissonant, more polarized and less willing to understand.

By promoting the voice of moderation and empathy, RHB is merely affirming its brand values by taking a stand on issues that matter most to our audience thus hoping to steer conversations and hopefully influence our society for the better.

Which is why RHB’s Merdeka film created with FCB Kuala Lumpur speaks to all Malaysians this year and encourages them to see past our differences so that the journey to progress together as a nation becomes easier.

This film captures that ambition for unity in a beautiful yet thought-provoking manner.

In your opinion, what is the biggest take out from a campaign like this?

When such campaign touches on a world that is divided by social classes, lines drawn by societal expectations, unfounded judgments made from first impressions and different sides created by conflicting opinions, the brand had to dig deep.

We need to shift from just being about our products to becoming a beacon of empowerment.

RHB took this path to convey a simple, yet very compelling story of unity because a combination of worthy brand values and amazing storytelling will always spark a conversation and get people talking about what matters to them.

RHB intends to seed the idea that it is our diverse society that makes us truly Malaysian and not our diversity that divides us.

We hope the brand inspires everyone to realise this fact and motivates them to be their better self.

After all, the fight for social unity can never be enough and Malaysia will always resonate the message we’re hoping to deliver.

So far in 2019, how have things been for RHB Bank?

First half of 2019 has been encouraging for us. We have seen RHB’s brand value grew by 45% year on year (source: Brand Finance 2019), making it our biggest brand value growth in history.

With a stronger brand equity, we are also seeing market share gain in key products across our businesses. It is a strong indication that we’re winning the hearts of our intended customers.

Hence we’re optimistic about the future of the brand and the way it progresses.

When it comes to advertising these days, what do you think has changed over the last decade or so, from your perspective?

The increased connectivity that smartphones have enabled has inspired marketers to shift their strategies towards a more mobile-centric direction. Customers are increasingly consulting their smartphones to help them make everyday decisions.

As smartphone data collection and analysis technology become more sophisticated, speed and relevance of marketing campaigns becomes key in order for brands to make a timely impression to influence the decision-making process of potential customers. 

As a result of this, one advertising trend that has been observed of late is that most brands are resorting more towards product featured advertising, aimed at capturing consumers who consumes content on a fly.

The challenge is how such content stands out in a crowded and noisy market place and immediately claim a share of an obviously short attention span.

The answer is somewhat ironic. If you think of the work that gets shared online, what they have in common is that they make us feel certain emotions.

Emotions often lost in the bulk of featured-driven advertising. Tapping into human emotions and behaviour can be a very powerful way to differentiate your brand story, especially when you’re in a category where product features are easily copied and commoditized.

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