Cash Converters is an iconic Australian challenger brand that divides opinion. To some it evokes negativity based on past practices, behaviours and opinions. However to many happy customers, the brand is their hero. Sometimes a little unconventional but nonetheless a hero.
When you dig below the surface, you reveal some truths about the brand that support that theory. Since 1984 Cashies have been working alongside their customers both online and in store in communities, to find retail and financial solutions for people who historically had limited options, broadening choice for all and ultimately enhancing their lives.
They exist in their own category; the mix of retail and diverse financial products, community and online stores, part franchise, part wholly owned is unique. It sets them apart but it also comes with its own set of challenges that no other business faces.
Brand consideration for some is out of the question; 55% of Australians feel ‘Cashies – it’s not a brand for me’ however this is often the result of a lack of understanding and false perceptions based on hearsay and negative media reporting; nonetheless this is a challenge that any marketer should be excited by.
At the start of 2019 leadership, new focus and new responsibilities, and started out on a journey to redefine this iconic Australian brand that was founded in Victoria Park WA and today has more than 700 stores in 16 countries and a sophisticated online buy, sell and loan store.
The business was very conscious of the polarising nature of their brand and knew that in order to flourish in the future, they needed to not only tactically market their products and services, but also present their brand to a new audience, whilst retaining their loyal customer base.
One of the key insights unveiled in the ‘discovery’ stage was how important personal relationships were for this brand; it’s a business where people deal with individuals and in a world where so much interaction is done remotely, Cash Converters are real people working with their respective communities to solve problems everyday. This authenticity started to shape our thinking and set the brand ambition to be seen as a valued ‘people business’ offering retail and financial solutions for everyone.
Cashies had developed a set of values many years ago and every office and store had a poster on the wall listing the usual corporate values that everyone forgets. The team wanted to revitalise the business internally as well as externally and used the authenticity of their staff to create a values statement rather than a list of hyperboles. The statement says it how it is, its genuineness and passion is unmistakable and very Cashies:
We are real people who are passionate and proud to help others. Caring and respectful of the individual, tenacious problem solvers who just get shit sorted.
The newly developed personality of the brand also reflects the people who are proud to work in the business and the relationship they have with their customer’s
Like a supportive mate, we’re here to listen and find ways to help.
We’re from your neighbourhood and don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we’re serious about our customers. We’ll never judge – we treat everyone as an individual, look at things from a different perspective and are we’re always enthusiastic to see what’s possible.
The revitalised brand positioning was developed with a core client team from across the business, and built around the authentic personality of the brand. Before any external communication was undertaken Rare developed an extensive, internal launch and roll out across all staff over eight weeks. This launch served to create an internal buzz and immense brand pride, so that staff could carry messaging directly to customer and augment the paid media when it launched externally.
All aspects of the concept and production were exhaustively dissected to ensure that we found the right balance.
The campaign came with both creative and production challenges.
Creatively, achieving the right tone of voice was immensely important. We had to demonstrate a shift for Cash Converters towards becoming a more mainstream, respected brand. But we also needed to be true to our roots and not try to make a leap that was too big to be believable. All aspects of the concept and production were exhaustively dissected to ensure that we found the right balance.
Production became complicated when Covid started to affect the way we went about things. It ‘hit’ the week before the shoot was scheduled. Being the first major campaign shot in Perth during this period, there were many practical aspects that had to be researched, considered and cleared in a short time period. Proposed interstate talent and locations were now off limits. The final cast included children and seniors, requiring protocols to be put in place to minimise their risk. Shoot attendance was restricted to essential crew with social distancing strictly observed. It was a production environment that was foreign to us all, but every challenge was met with a resourceful resolution.
Our creative needed to be applicable to a broad range of products as well as being able to generate an emotive connection. We had to show our relevance to the lives of an audience that were largely disengaged with our brand. Our solution was to find the human story behind each transaction. With supers, we first pointed to the product itself. Then the purpose behind the purchase. And finally the feeling or life experience that came with it. This was encapsulated by our tagline “Life made possible.”
This direction demonstrated a real understanding of our audience – that life can be complicated, unexpected and difficult to manage. There will always be ups and downs. Sometimes we see them coming, but often we don’t. What is certain is that we all need a little help from time to time and if we didn’t have that help, so many things just wouldn’t be possible.
The ’life’ referred to in the tagline was about the little things. Wonderful moments of connection rather than momentous life events. This kept the tone beautifully humble and genuine, and true to the Cash Converters brand.
The structure of the concept was inspired by the need to speak to a broad audience with a singular tone of voice – empathetic but not patronising, having a sense of fun while being trustworthy and helpful. The concept framework of sequential supers could be applied to any scenario and every Cashies product offering in a way that established this tone and communicated our new brand position. It allowed us to speak with the colloquial language established through previous campaigns, but say something new.
Much of the inspiration for our scenarios came from focus groups. During the discussions, it became clear that the stories we told were crucial. There had to be an element of generosity, or something worthwhile about each narrative. It was important that Cash Converters customers were perceived as being good people. While this limited our scope, it resulted in a far more heartwarming ad.