CATEGORY ANALYSIS: FINANCIAL SERVICES
The top Asia-Pacific banking brands are largely local players. Only the top two bank brands, HSBC (1) and Citibank (2) have strong brand presence across most markets. But even HSBC, which used to be known as 'the world's local bank' and boasts a renewed presence globally thanks to the world's largest out-of-home campaign across international airports, is only the top brand in its home market of Hong Kong. Citibank, a top 10 banking brand in all APAC countries but New Zealand, isn't number one anywhere after being displaced in Taiwan by CTBC Bank this year.
One might add Standard Chartered, which derives much of its business from Asia, to the above two brands in terms of broad regional recognition. But its brand fortunes tumbled in this year's survey, plummeting from the 5th banking brand in APAC down to 18th overall. Despite a visible presence at marathons throughout the regions and a new 'good enough will never change the world' campaign tied to social responsibility (which failed to win over Ad Nut, mind you) Stanchart's drop wasn't due to any crisis in a single market but rather a broader slide across many markets: China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines.
Among local banks there was plenty of volatility. Malaysia's Maybank jumped to 3rd in the region from 8th last year, with notable improvement in Indonesia. South Korea's Kookmin Bank rose to 4th overall from 7th with a stronger showing in key Southeast Asian markets, just like CIMB which climbed from 17th to 8th overall. Thailand's Kasikorn Bank, which struck marketing gold at Cannes last year with it's quirky Friendshit campaign, hopped into 11th spot from 15th. Other decliners include Bank of China (5), slipping two spots, and POSB (7), dropping three.
AIA now tops in insurance
In contrast, Asia-Pacific's big insurance brand rankings are much more stable. But AIA, a top 5 brand across six Asian markets, shook things up this year by bringing in none other than David Beckham to launch its new brand promise 'Healthier, longer, better lives', replacing its old slogan 'The real life company'. The attention didn't hurt, as AIA improved its position in Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand, while keeping the top spot in Thailand, to steal the top insurance brand label away from Prudential this year.
Like other insurance brands in the top 5 (AXA, Manulife, Allianz), Prudential hasn't been sitting idly by, but has been emphasising positive action and optimism in recent campaigns, including true-life stories such as this one from breast cancer survivor Mandy Lam. Manulife, meanwhile, underwent a brand overhaul and doubled-down on its efforts to reach out to millennials.
The only new entrant to the top 10 insurance brands this year was Thai Life, bumped up a notch after China Life fell out from 9th to 11th. This reflected a broader decline in the brand fortunes of Chinese insurers overall. China Pacific (CPIC) suffered the largest drop, from 14th to 23rd overall after losing ground in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam, despite improvement in mainland China and Japan. Ping An, which has been diversifying from insurance into various fintech products, launched a Hong Kong stock exchange IPO for its Ping An Good Doctor health platform and is about to launch another for its OneConnect fintech arm. Its brand ranking slipped from 16th to 18th this year.
Visa, Mastercard still dominate credit cards and e-Payments
In the credit card and e-payment categories Visa and Mastercard still dominate, continuing to rank 1 & 2 and 2 & 3 respectively again this year. Mastercard has been particularly active in rebranding and sponsorship this year, signing up as the first global sponsor for esport League of Legends, stripping its name from its logo and launching a new sonic identity.
American Express, however, was the other true credit card brand in the category (besides banks) making a top 5 move, advancing to fourth from fifth. Amex shifted its global media account to UM last year, ending its 20-year relationship with Mindshare.
The e-Payments category, still topped by Paypal (1), remains virtually unchanged, with AliPay (4) and WeChat (5) continuing to round out the top 5. The only shift in the entire top 10 was Gcash entering the 10th spot from 11th. The Filipino payment brand just reported a tenfold growth in subscribers in the past three years. It displaced Thailand-based True Money.