How Singapore challenger bank GXS is shaking up category stereotypes with its marketing
A bank advertisement that defies the traditional banking stereotype is the image GXS, one of Singapore's newest banks, aims to project with its latest brand campaign. Lian Ju Han, the chief marketing officer, provides insights into the strategies employed by this challenger brand.
GXS bank launched in Singapore with a new banking promise
GXS, launched as a digital bank in 2022, is determined to revolutionize the banking landscape in Singapore. While many view this as a formidable task, the founders of GXS have embarked on a transformative journey.
The bank recently unveiled its inaugural brand campaign, titled 'Challenging Conventions', conceived by Distilleri. This campaign coincided with the introduction of GXS's first credit product in Singapore, the GXS FlexiLoan.
Lian Ju Han, the chief marketing officer of GXS, explains: “We are a bank that rejects the conventional ways of banking, with the belief that banking can be so much better for our customers.”
Noteworthy supporters of GXS include Grab Holdings Inc, Southeast Asia's super app, and Singtel, the communications technology group.
Banking with a difference
GXS's promise is to introduce consumers to a new way of banking, with a focus on making banking better for the everyday consumer and small business.
Ju Han elaborates on this approach in an interview with The Drum, stating: “We are doing this by questioning existing practices we take for granted.” For example, GXS eliminated minimum balance requirements and fall-below fees for its savings accounts, while enabling customers to earn daily interest on their account balances. "We understand how cash flow is important to them”, Ju Han added.
In designing its loan product, GXS aimed to grant customers greater flexibility and control over their personal loans and repayments. Customers can choose their desired loan amount and repayment date. All of these innovations, according to Ju Han, represent "a game-changer for the industry and more importantly, for the customers used to the old ways of banking.” The brand campaign aims to mirror this mindset of challenging conventions.
The 'new age' bank's approach to marketing
Ju Han emphasizes that the guiding principle behind the brand campaign was to challenge conventions.
"Instead of following the mainstream, GXS opted for a distinct path," he says.
Rather than traditional advertisements with cheerful individuals promoting products and services, GXS chose to showcase unconventional stories. The campaign highlights a gamer battling against all odds, an aspiring chef transforming passion into a thriving business, and a woman redefining the concept of family alongside her pets. “We shine the spotlight on this group of individuals to celebrate their choice to challenge conventions and stay true to themselves," says Ju Han.
In a departure from standard template ads, GXS sought inspiration from the community itself. The bank commissioned three local artists – Kenn Lam, Kristal Melson, and Angela Chong – to create captivating artworks reflecting modern interpretations of contemporary conventions. The objective was to spark conversations within the community and engage them through this activation.
Rather than relying solely on traditional press announcements and print ads for the brand launch, GXS's marketing team commissioned a mural in a renowned Singaporean lane known for its historical and cultural significance. The bank plans to introduce numerous further activations in the coming months.
The brand campaign has been disseminated across digital platforms and out-of-home channels, including high foot-traffic areas and an extensive network of bus shelters in Singapore. Additionally, due to the involvement of Grab and Singtel as investors, the creative materials are also visible on Grab and Singtel apps, Singtel shops, and Grab cars.
Ju Han summarized it like this: "The ultimate compliment for us would be if consumers don't perceive our campaign as a typical bank advertisement."