Transforming Kiwibank from a bank people loved into a bank that people chose to bank with.


Kiwibank presented ThoughtFull with the challenge to help make it more relevant to its customers in order to meet its growth objectives understanding that at that time, Kiwibank ranked below the major banks for expertise, so the need for change was immediate. 

We partnered with Kiwibank and acted as ‘change agents’ across the organisation. We started with brand strategy, recognising that to reposition the bank, we needed to attract and retain a new, progressive type of customer. This focus demanded a transformative perspective across culture, product, retail and technology - ensuring the bank were razor clear on who it needed to serve.

We identified the harakeke (flax) as a relevant cultural metaphor - in Māori culture the harakeke symbolises a thriving community. This metaphor was expressed through a digital-first identity formed from a two-coloured abstract harakeke leaf that folds its way around to frame the wordmark. It’s an active and living form that can also transform into a broader brand language.

To build depth, three tohu were created to express the three brand attributes that could be used to generate distinctive patterns across collateral, interfaces and environments. These are Kia Māia - to be brave, to show leadership and to think about how we benefit future generations; Kia Manaaki - to have care and open heartedness; and ‘Kia Mārama’ - to constantly seek to grow, to learn, to advance, to innovate. 

We undertook extensive research with customers, non-customers, staff and stakeholders to understand where the brand currently sat in their world and where the potential was. The challenge was to express the new brand strategy powerfully and authentically and to do this in a way that honoured and reflects the organisation’s commitment to Māori.

We created a progressive brand identity, expression and language designed to grow with the bank, a strong digital-first identity that could represent and support its ambition as a business while also reflecting the values of its culture and brand equity of its history.  We wanted the bank to be able to stand tall, to announce a fresh take on banking, and to be bold in how it does business.

To enable the bank to continue to serve New Zealanders, we needed to invigorate branch network including Kiwibank kiosks which were offered through NZPost shops. Through research with staff, customers and field research, we identified a number of customer needs that were not being met. As a result we created a branch experience blueprint for Kiwibank Future branches.

To attract this new customer required a step change in product offerings. We undertook extensive research to create a Customer Experience (CX) strategy and tools, through to shaping a playbook for frontline staff service delivery.


Working as a partner to reposition Kiwibank as a more relevant for customers meant we touched all aspects of the bank and a multitude of work streams, from leadig a cohort of agencies, to designing brand strategy, visual identity and language, redesigning products, an employment proposition, CX capabilities and processes, product architecture, physical retail and experience design, internal events, and the innovative Co-own proposition. 

All of this has resulted in Kiwibank becoming more relevant to a new generation of customers.

Brand Relevance
Home lending consideration
Business banking consideration
in Co-own lending

The rebrand created a platform for the bank to launch a new range of customer-centric banking products. The first of these was Co-own, a project born from customer insight and directly aligned with Kiwibank’s purpose, to enable people to co-own and share the burden of owning a home. We interviewed owners, people looking to purchase a house at all stages of life, gaining insights and creating a blueprint for Kiwibank to launch this product.


GoodDesign Awards (AU)
AxisAwards (NZ)
BestDesign Awards (NZ)

Creative Partners

Retail Dimension
Special Group