Eftpos: from tool to brand

Friday, 06 May 2011 18:59

Have you seen those new TV ads for Eftpos? They have just launched advertisements in print, television and outdoor ads around the theme of eftpos, the way Australia pays presenting people in ordinary situations - in a taxi, a pharmacy - and how paying by eftpos got them through a challenging moment. Under the leadership of new CEO Bruce Mansfield eftpos is trying to build brand awareness around their ubiquitous service. Why would they do that when just about every person in Australia knows what eftpos is?

Is eftpos a Brand?

Eftpos is in a unique situation whereby they have market saturation for knowledge of their product - retail payment through electronic transfer - but low recognition of them as a brand. After all the name is simply an acronym of the functional characteristics of the product "Electronic Funds Transfer (at) Point Of Sale. Everyone thinks they know what eftpos is. But the problem for eftpos is that most consumers essentially understand eftpos as a technology rather than as a business or a brand. So what started as a piece of technology needs a brand to compete...for the first time in its 20 year history.

Market Beware

Why? Because the competition has arrived; branded competition from one of the biggest global brands in Financial Services: Visa. So now eftpos find themselves in a growing market space, and are conscious of the rising popularity of alternative forms of retail paying such as Visa, credit cards (with their incentivising points schemes), as well as the decline of other payment systems over the last decade (BankCard and cheques). Eftpos is suddenly in the world of "brand" and having to move from a payment technology gateway, to providing a compelling reason to stay with eftpos (tried, trusted and proven, rationally) and engage emotionally.

For eftpos this will involve a shift in the way the public views what eftpos is. Essentially they are trying to move eftpos from being just an electronic service, over to a living persona that has the potential to build loyalty and trust. And in time, this goodwill could be transferable to new financial products or services, given the consumers actual "relationship" with the brand.

eftpos' Brand Awareness Campaign

Indeed the move to new services and usages seems to be part of eftpos' brand awareness campaign. They are attempting to reposition themselves as the card of choice for smaller purchases. Eftpos processes around 5 million transactions daily, with about 20% of them under $20. One of eftpos' goals is increasing the proportion of smaller transactions. 2012 is earmarked to see new services roll out - think contactless paying, and payments via smartphones.

However, Eftpos appears to be in a catch up. Consider Visa's recent advertising campaign around tap and go, for transactions under a $100. Easier and faster technology (no pesky PIN's to remember) teamed with a global and trusted brand like Visa. Nonetheless eftpos has trust and huge awareness. Their challenge is bringing brand equity to a piece of check-out technology to lift them up to the brand status of other financial services such as Visa, American Express, Virgin, and PayPal. It will not be easy...