Kiwibank general manager of marketing communications Regan Savage is set to depart the bank for Trade Me, where he will be taking up the position of marketing director.
About the move, Savage says he’s had a really good near seven-year tenure with Kiwibank but he couldn't miss an opportunity to work on another Kiwi brand.
"It seemed like a great opportunity to learn about a different sector and help another brand build on where it’s at today and grow to where it needs to in the future."
Savage joined from ANZ bank in May 2011 as head of brand and communications before taking on the role of head of marketing communications and content in April 2014 and finally his current position in December 2016.
During his time as general manager of marketing communications, Kiwibank has put a strong emphasis on its local ownership setting it apart from other banks.
Its campaigns have seen Kiwis projected onto the country’s buildings and landmarks to discuss their rationale for banking with a locally owned company and most recently, encouraging students to 'major in New Zealand’ when choosing a bank.
Savage has also given the brand’s agency partnerships a mix-up, taking its lead creative agency, Assignment Group, off retainer last year to work with a range of artners.
At the time Savage told StopPress the shift was necessary at a time when it has become increasingly difficult to rely on a single provider to deliver across all available channels.
But what he’s most proud of from his time with the bank is Kiwibank’s efforts in the conservation area and the country’s financial literacy.
Specifically, he points out its partnership with Banqer, which allows teachers to set up a currency in the classroom and facilitate lessons that enable students to learn about money in the real world including debt, interest and things like a mortgage.
Kiwibank is currently funding it to be used in 2,100 classrooms across New Zealand.
But it’s not just kids that Kiwibank has been educating about money. Last year it teamed up with TVNZ to launch Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta, a six-part primetime TV series dedicated to making New Zealanders aware of their behaviour with money.
It bucked the trend of a 30-second TVC and for the effort, the series won its peak on-air time slot among Kiwi adults and 68 percent of those surveyed by the bank said they enjoyed watching it.
It also won Kiwibank the Financial & Banking Award at the 2017 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Following the launch, Savage told StopPress it was careful not to make the series an infomercial and instead opted to keep Kiwibank’s branding to a minimum within it.
“We were very specific from the get-go about creating a show that stood alone as a successful TV show versus creating a campaign that goes around that show. By keeping those distinct, we achieved the goal of making a great show and a campaign without diluting either.”
Now, reflecting on Kiwibank as a whole, he says a highlight of his time has been the fact the brand demands constant evolution and innovation.
“Everyone at Kiwibank is really supportive of seeing the brand do new and different things and continue to evolve,” he says.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to work in that environment where the brand is really valued and people have a strong sense of purpose. Everyone gets behind the initiatives the marketing and brand function put forward.”
It’s no surprise he says his first step with Trade Me will be to get to know the people, and the various parts of the business, before he forms views about how he can help drive it to the next level.
“The thing that excites me is the huge platform that Trade Me is. It’s a really diverse digital business that touches the lives of millions of New Zealanders every day and I think that’s an amazing platform.”
In working on it, Savage will be calling on his learnings from his time at Kiwibank saying he’s come to know the importance of knowing what you stand for and building a strong team and community who share the same belief and purpose.
With Savage departing, Kiwibank has launched an internal and external recruitment process to find a replacement.