PROOF | change communication & employee alignment


ABN Amro
Our Story

Using stories to internalise a new brand identity
Launching a new brand identity only really works if the organisation behind it lives, breathes and believes it. ABN AMRO understands the need for authenticity, which is why 3,500 staff within the bank contributed to defining a new identity. But how do you embed that new identity in the wider organisation?

Changing an organisation’s identity is a complicated business. It means rewriting the rules and casting aside the unwritten ones. It means demolishing old ways and building new ones. Changing minds. Changing behaviour. In co creation with ABN AMRO we developed the ‘Our Story ’internal campaign to embed the new mindset in the organisation.

Taking external internal and back out again
The identity statement had already been translated into an advertising campaign that focused on the needs and desires of customers: ‘What’s your story’. The internal campaign had to involve and inspire staff to live that mindset. We had three goals:

  • Help employees become familiar with the new story (knowledge).
  • Make them feel confident about it (attitude).
  • Ensure they knew how they could contribute to it (behaviour).

The primary change was a shift in emphasis from a focus on the bank to a focus on the client. Less broadcasting; more listening. Fewer product-led offerings; more client-led solutions. Among many other changes, this would require staff to look beyond their own business lines and work across departments. To move from hierarchical and closed to open and transparent; all in the interests of the client.

First experience the new ABN AMRO ourselves
An employee survey had highlighted a need to feel, experience and ‘live’ the new ABN AMRO. Evidence and dialogue would be key to winning people over, as would the opportunity to actively contribute to the new identity.

Taking this as our starting-point, the internal campaign sought to show rather than tell. How? By making the employees’ own stories visible. The bank’s 22,314 employees worldwide, each with his or her own story, make the ABN AMRO story come to life, day in, day out.

A sneak preview and stories shared
Ahead of the start of the internal campaign, board member Caroline Princen sent all staff an email explaining the how and why of the new identity and external campaign. This included a sneak preview of the commercial that they could share on social media.

The internal campaign revolved around an online platform comprising employee stories – written and filmed – that had been gathered by ABN AMRO editors and reporters. These stories explained how someone had made the difference for a client. Employees were professionally photographed (photographer: Erik Borst) for the platform and for the other print and digital collateral used at ABN AMRO offices. All the photos and stories were included in a storybook, and could be ‘liked’, shared and discussed on the platform.

Teaser postcards were distributed to branch offices to stimulate employees to visit the platform. The cards also invited them to write down their own stories and send it in for use in a follow-up campaign. The aim was to bring ‘our story’ to life from the bottom-up, and to encourage employees to share their own tales.

ABN AMRO’s best internal campaign – ever
Employee surveys showed that the ‘Our story’ campaign has been the best internal campaign ever. The platform had over 17,000 individual visitors (out of a total of just over 22,000 worldwide), and 90,000 page views. That makes ‘Our story’ the most visited platform ever within ABN AMRO.

Echte verhalen van medewerkers maken zichtbaar hoe zij het verschil maken voor de klant. Kloppend hart van ‘Ons verhaal’ is een online platform met persoonlijke verhalen van medewerkers.


Our Story booklet
The stories and pictures are also combined in a hardcopy storybook.



Elevator Doors
Due to the visibility of the stories employees are stimulated to share their own story.
Veemarkt 135
1019 CC Amsterdam
The Netherlands

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United Kingdom
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