BetterBond’s new brand identity: It’s all in the name

This month sees the launch of a massive multi-platform campaign to ramp up awareness of the new branding for leading bond originator BetterBond* – and to simultaneously ensure that consumers become much more familiar with the benefits of bond origination generally.

For Pretoria-based agency BRAND et al, the new brand identity was, as it were, hiding in plain sight. It’s not very often that an organisation’s brand name has the power to define an entire industry. And when it does, well, that’s just complete dominance.

So the strategy team chose to peg the entire campaign on the BetterBond name, evolving the new brand identity through a self-referential sleight of hand: Simply put, the sole purpose of bond originators is to offer consumers better bonds. BetterBond’s strength clearly lay in the power of their name, because it defines precisely who they are and what they do. And it also happens to be their brand promise. No competitor can own those words or put them in their name. They can use those words… but every time they do, they’re inadvertently endorsing their competition.

The challenge, however, was how to execute the campaign creatives without invoking the ire of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). In South African advertising, BetterBond can’t claim they’re better without jumping through hoops to prove it. They can, of course, say their name and, in doing so in this campaign, they’ve effectively turned the tables on their competitors and tweaked the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) code.

This disruptive and, dare we say, subversive sleight of hand gave the creative team license to bring mischief into the mix. And under the nuanced direction of the puckish, whimsical Wim Steytler, the television campaign took a decidedly comic turn, relying on the flawless comedic timing of the likes of actors Chris Forrest, Khaya Mthembu and Caitlin Kilburn to say the unsayable through a series of archly hushed whispers, hastily scribbled-upon bits of cardboard, and suggestive eye-balling.

Beneath the comedic reveal, however, lies a commitment to continuous improvement. That’s what ‘better’ means for BetterBond’s internal culture. And the new brand slogan, “our name says it all”, positioned as it is in the public domain, serves to motivate and mobilise the BetterBond team, and propel it forward in its vision to place a title deed in the hands of every South African.

“We are very excited about the way the campaign communicates the fact that at BetterBond, we are true to our name in providing origination services and helping home buyers to obtain bonds that are ‘better’ than average in a number of ways,” says CEO Rudi Botha.

“As a start, we are able to pre-qualify prospective home buyers for bonds so that they know what they can afford and have a better chance of their offers to purchase being accepted. We also know exactly what information the banks require from home loan applicants, and how to motivate their applications to give them a much better chance of being approved for a bond.

“And we make use of a multiple-lender application process which ensures that buyers have a better chance of being offered an interest rate concession that will save them thousands of rands over the lifetime of their bond.”

Bond origination is probably one of the best-kept secrets in the property sector, and yet it is the brand’s key value proposition. Says Botha, “The campaign is thus calculated to promote greater understanding, especially among first-time buyers, of what bond origination is and of its benefits – at no cost to the consumer. This ties in with our corporate vision of helping as many South Africans as possible to live better lives by making home ownership more attainable and more affordable.”

Indeed, BetterBond sees itself not so much in the business of bonds, as in the business of better.

*Founded by Botha in 2000 when mortgage origination in SA was still in its infancy, BetterBond grew rapidly and in 2003 merged with PA Homeloans to immediately become the country’s second biggest originator. It has continued to flourish and, as the market leader since 2005, has helped more than 1-million SA families on their journey to owning a home. It currently accounts for 25% of all new mortgage bonds registered in the Deeds Office annually.