Can Halifax target a new generation with it’s brand refresh?

We take a look at Halifax’s recent brand refresh which has caused a bit of a stir in the design world. Did they hit or miss the mark?

The infamous Howard Brown

Halifax bank has always been a well known brand mainly down to the amount of effort they put into their advertising and awareness campaigns.

Over recent years they have stepped away from the ‘pyramid people’ (which was beyond tired), to the strategy of collaborating with famous cartoon characters designed to appeal to a generation X focussed market. Now with their brand refresh we can see that they are going younger again. Could this be a u-turn for the aged and established bank? Can a new identity really attract a valuable millennial market and be a far enough step away from ‘Howard’.

Updated brand mark

This was a radical move. But does it work?

On first observation I thought something wasn’t quite right. I quickly found myself asking for more. I think it’s fair to say that the old logo was dated and out of touch from modern consumers, however Halifax had quite possibly done the impossible… made a dated logo look more aged? If anything, is this just a sidewards step?

When we look at banking firms we want to instantly be hit with thoughts of trust, loyalty, inclusivity, the list goes on… but sadly I can’t help but think they have sold out to ‘bland’.

The design studio which did the work said that the intentions of the rebrand were “to make it feel less like an institution and more a bank of choice that is easy to engage with”. Which I can completely get behind. The banking sector in the recent past has taken a massive leap forwards, catering for a much more educated and observant audience.

Recent rebrands in the high-fashion world

However Halifax seems to have fallen into a spiralling trend which has been rife over recent years especially in the fashion industry. A brand needs a refresh to make it more current = bland-that-shit-up and let’s get a bold sans serif font, job done!

While some may overlook this choice as just a safe option, Halifax are fighting a battle in a market that oozes character. Banks and fin-tech companies like Monzo with their radical hot neon pink cards and Revolut are leading the way in innovative fin-tech branding. I feel there needs to be an even bigger push from these established banks to be more experimental and to break away from the expected.

Marketing collateral for the brand

After my initial reaction to the rebrand I started to think, was I just missing something? So I held my judgment until I researched a bit further and found the accompanying brand collateral, and safe to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

The advertisements are friendly, youthful and for a bank… quite fun! Not Monzo fun, but still a step in the right direction. The tone of voice is on point, it’s helpful, without being too direct and gives you that much needed encouragement. The colour palette is inviting and really does freshen up the brand. So pretty encouraging. However, I couldn’t help but notice how the logo looked quite awkward on the advertisements. The fresh new colours and this corporate logo just didn’t go hand in hand.

These pieces as a whole just don’t seem as considered as they could be. From what I can see this was Halifax’s attempt to try and catch up with these ever thriving fin-tech companies, a chase most banks seem to find themselves in now. Halifax even went as far as changing their app to be VERY similar to Monzo, but that’s a blog for another day. Watch this space…

By Simon Thorneloe

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