Brand Analysis: How Steward Bank is Dominating the Zimbabwean Digital Marketing Space

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“Banking is necessary, but banks are not.”

 

When I first came across that statement, my response was just like any other, especially when I come across a simple but sophisticated phrase. A resounding wow.

 

The quote is so profound largely because it sums up the mindset every 21st-century business leader should have in 7 unique words. And the quote is not only applicable to banking alone, but to every sector imaginable.

 

Take this for example, “Retail is necessary but retail shops are not.” When this century began, we saw companies rise that disrupted the old ways of doing things. Companies like Paypal and Mastercard disrupted the Finance sector. Amazon and eBay disrupted retail.

 

Why is this happening and how is this possible? It can be attributed to the above statement, the service is necessary but the service provider is not that necessary especially if they refuse to innovate.

 

In doing my research, I wanted to see which great man said that statement, it wasn’t easy, but in digging, I came across this article by Delta Ndou. She cited a source, a Zimbabwean source, Dr. Lance Mambondiani.

 

Banking is necessary but Banks are not. - Dr Lance Mambondiani Click To Tweet

 

I got a heave of excitement when I saw that, not because Delta had revealed that the source of the quotation was Zimbabwean but because Delta had given me a final piece of the puzzle. No wonder why John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

 

Dr. Lance Mambondiani is the CEO of Steward Bank. As a Digital Marketer, I’ve been following Steward Bank and seeing them implement powerful Digital Marketing Strategies which are proving to be very effective.

 

At first, I wasn’t doing this proactively, I was just passively observing them do their thing. But when I read Dr. Mambondiani’s quote, I knew it was time to start studying Steward Bank because if there is a brand in Zimbabwe that’s growing itself through Digital Marketing, Steward Bank comes first, they are ‘slaying’ in the Zimbabwean Digital Marketing space.

 

 

In terms of numbers alone, especially for Facebook, no other brand in the Financial Services Sector is even close to Steward Bank. Here is a snapshot of Steward bank’s Facebook Page.

 

Steward Bank Facebook Page

 

As you can see, Steward Bank has a massive Facebook following of 236 319. This is not a small number especially in Zimbabwe where we have about 1 million active Zimbabweans on Facebook.

 

Assuming that all of Steward Bank’s followers are Zimbabwean, this means that 20% of Zimbabwe’s total Facebook population are Steward Bank’s Brand Advocates.

But this is Social Media Right, who cares? Well, to convince you of the strength of Steward Bank’s digital brand, here is a chart from Google Trends for the past 12 months.

 

Steward Bank Search Google Trends

 

 

Interest in the Brand is increasing as Google confirms which means their social media efforts are a big payoff. To explain how this process goes, success in Digital Marketing is a simple three step process. And Steward Bank has mastered all three.

 

Step 1: Increase Brand Awareness and Visibility

 

How did Steward Bank do that? By understanding and utilizing Social Media. In highlighting Steward Bank’s Social Media Channels, I forgot to mention about their Twitter and LinkedIn because they are doing fairly well on those too.

 

I focused much on Facebook because that’s where most of their activity and engagement takes place. And Steward Bank’s Digital Marketing Manager was smart about it, which paid off. Zimbabweans on Social Media are largely active on Facebook and doubling down on the platform was a smart move on their side, which should be applauded.

 

Steward Bank managed to grow a relevant Social Media audience which in turn increased their brand visibility. Social Media is a very powerful Digital Marketing tool if not the most. If you master that, even if you don’t put effort into any other channels, you’ll be good to go.

 

In increasing their brand awareness and visibility Digitally, We saw them engage the services of Slay King Mudiwa to be their brand ambassador. It wasn’t a mistake according to me, Steward Bank had a well-defined client persona.

 

They knew who they were targeting and by engaging Mudiwa, they managed to communicate their message in a way that got the interest of the people they were targeting even if they did not initially care about Steward Bank at first.

 

Step 2: Get People to Talk about your Brand

 

The chart from Google Trends showed us that people are talking about Steward Bank and interest keeps on growing. Online, it’s difficult to get people to start talking about you.

 

Just try going on trends.google.com and type in your company’s name, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Steward Bank got step one right, which explains why Step 2 was easier.

 

They managed to stand out on Social Media, thus they became one of the most popular and accessible banks in the country. The keyword of this paragraph is the word accessible.

 

Steward Bank did not approach Social Media with a serious face like most Brands do, they blended in which made people like them. When people like you, they will talk about you and when they talk about you, your popularity will keep on growing over time.

 

Step 3: Encourage Meaningful Engagement

 

This move was the checkmate, the right hook. If you’ve ever read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, jab, jab, jab, right hook, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

 

To make it easier for non GaryVee fanatics, look at the picture below.

 

Steward Bank Goat

 

This is engagement and very meaningful. When we talk about meaningful engagement especially on Social Media, we are referring to what matters to your audience, not to your brand.

 

When we talk about meaningful engagement especially on Social Media, we are referring to what… Click To Tweet

 

The guys at Steward knew that people during that period cared about goats more than their money and they leveraged on that to stir up a conversation around their brand.

 

Another example of how Steward Bank is encouraging meaningful engagement week in, week out is by their square talk which is held live on Facebook.

 

Everyone loves talk shows and live events, so why not do it as a brand. Remember, leads come when you engage and interact with your audience and that’s how Steward Bank is doing it.

 

They have other things they do like the fan of the week promotion and others and they are succeeding in driving their Digital Agenda.

 

Conclusion

 

Although Steward Bank have been facing their fair share of challenges over the past few months, we cannot deny the fact that Steward Bank has a smart Digital Marketing team and they are working with well-defined strategies.

 

If they manage to combine this smart digital marketing strategy with excellent service delivery, they will be the bank for the future.

 

Tamuka James Chinzvende is a Google Certified PPC Consultant and Partner. He is also a WordPress Developer and a Hubspot Certified Online Inbound Marketer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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