This week, strategy is rolling out the profiles of the 2019 Marketers of the Year. Check out all of the stories as they are published here.
This story originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of strategy.
Clinton Braganza pulled off a sports miracle.
In the summer of 2018, Scotiabank signed a landmark deal with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) worth a reported $800 million. The CMO helped craft that blockbuster deal – taking the bank’s wide-ranging sports sponsorships into the stratosphere by extending its support for the Toronto Maple Leafs and making its affiliated Tangerine brand the official bank of the Toronto Raptors. But that wasn’t the miracle.
The new partnership also gave Scotiabank naming rights to the teams’ home venue for the next 20 years, replacing founding sponsor Air Canada on the marquee. That wasn’t the miracle either.
The deal was perfectly timed to put Scotiabank in the spotlight when the Raptors won their first NBA championship this year, putting the bank’s name into circulation across global sports media. Although, still, not the miracle.
Getting Toronto sports fans to stop calling that arena on Bay Street “the ACC” – that was the miracle.
Fans are fickle. They generally care more about the ritual of sport than the business goals of corporate sponsors. But as the Leafs began their 2019 season, the words “Scotiabank Arena” were on their lips and in their search histories, thanks to Scotiabank’s customer-centric strategies and fan-level activations. It’s a major win that, along with a refresh of the bank’s marketing doctrine, shows Scotiabank is finding success through more flexible branding.
The bank has long-positioned itself as “Canada’s hockey bank” through millions in sponsorship investments with the NHL, Hockey Night in Canada and individual teams at every level of play. The MLSE deal made sense, given that history.
But breaking Torontonians’ 20-year habit of associating the rink with Air Canada would take more than new signs above the door. Spare a thought for poor Rogers Communications every time a Blue Jays fan says they’re going to “The Dome,” which hasn’t been the ballpark’s name since 2005.
“Compared to other, similar re-namings we’ve tracked in Canada, we have had a much faster adoption,” Braganza tells strategy. “I can’t share exact comparative numbers, but we’ve measured our name adoption at over 80% across the [Greater Toronto Area]” and awareness has reached 84%. “We think that’s a major win.” Searches for “Scotiabank Arena” have also increased 104% since last year.
To drive that adoption, yes, there was an ad campaign that showed Maple Leaf players proclaiming Scotiabank Arena as their home. But Braganza also took a customer-centric approach to find ways to improve fans’ experience of the venue.
For example, Scotiabank upgraded the large digital screen that broadcasts games into Maple Leaf Square (the city-block-sized outdoor area set aside for fan events and viewings during Raptors and Leafs games). The old 30-by-50-foot screen had relatively low definition and wasn’t quite large enough to serve the massive crowds that turned up for big events. The new HD screen now measures 40-feet-by-78 feet. The bank also refurbished the Scotia Club bar and restaurant (formerly the Air Canada Club) on the building’s 400 level, upgrading — not just rebranding — the facility.
“The venue is 20-years-old, and going forward we want the fan experience to be agnostic of the building’s age,” says Braganza. So fans should expect more updates and upgrades over the coming year.
The bank also created the widely successful Scotia Perks loyalty program for its customers, giving them access to the Scotia Club and a dedicated entrance at the arena, as well as discounts on tickets, concessions and merchandise. The program saw 65,000 enrollments in its first year.
A partnership with Metrolinx, however, expanded Scotiabank’s customer-first approach beyond the venue itself, because sports are more than just where you sit to watch the game.
Toronto’s transit system is a major part of game-day experiences since many ticket holders take public transport to the 20,000-seat venue. To honour both the Maple Leafs and Raptors’ 2018 home openers, Scotiabank handed out 20,000 branded and pre-loaded Presto payment cards, giving attendees a free ride to and from those games on TTC and Go vehicles.
This year’s Leafs season opener saw another arena addition that served as a symbol of Scotiabank’s new branding philosophy. Above that new screen in Maple Leaf Square sits Scotiabank’s new illuminated sign that, on game day, displayed the brand’s name in bright blue.
Canada’s big-five banks have been defined for decades by their brand colours. Braganza says “Scotiabank has been Canada’s red bank” and putting the bank’s name in blue “is something we wouldn’t have allowed ourselves to do in the past.”
“Historically, brand marketers have put a box around their visual identity and treated that box as fairly stringent,” he says. “We’ve evolved how we think about our identity — our colour is a good example.”
Red will remain at the core of the identity, but the brand won’t be as slavish in its use. Different colours (any colour) will be added to suit the occasion or marketer’s need. Braganza’s also added the option for official communications to refer to Scotiabank as just “Scotia,” just as consumers have been doing colloquially for years.
So, for example, when Scotiabank sponsors an annual hockey game for military families and veterans, the signage may be camouflage green. Local Canadian branches are free to use “Scotia” in their customer-facing marketing, as are branches in its more than 50 other countries.
“Our previous visual identity wasn’t designed to be on a screen six inches by three inches big. It was designed for our physical footprint, so we needed to redesign for a digital age to make sure it really pops,” Braganza explains of the 2019 brand refresh from Toronto’s OneMethod (its sister agency Bensimon Byrne handled creative for the stadium naming rights campaign).
“Our new banking app in Canada has a really simple and beautiful design that evolves where we came from without being a wholly new identity.”
The refresh was soft-launched in May and will see a gradual roll-out over the next year.
After five years with the company and less than a year as CMO, Braganza’s efforts have already built a solid foundation for the next decade of customer outreach. But taking up the banner of innovation means his marketing team will be ready to adapt in this challenging market.
Regardless of how the Leafs do this season, Scotiabank already has a few ticks in the Win column.