Interview with Nóra Horváth Magyary, Country Communication Officer at K&H Group
Long-term thinking and consistency
Few people know that K&H Bank boasts one of the most up-to-date collections of fine arts in Hungary. We have asked Nóra Horváth Magyary, the Country Communication Officer of the K&H Group about cultural support, communication in the banking sector, and social issues.
When it comes to the communication and marketing of a bank, most people first think of providing banking, credit, loan and insurance services. How have the communication roles of the banking sector evolved in recent years?
A major change in communication is that, in addition to providing information about products, a financial institution, like any other company, must credibly and decisively convey that its existence and development are sustainable, that you can count on it as an economic operator in the long run, and therefore it is active and efficient in its social and environmental investments. When it comes to communicating with the customer, we often take on an educational role beyond product information management. And with regard to the target groups of communication, today a company must be at the forefront of not only attracting customers but also developing a conscious and positive image for existing and future employees, since there is already a great deal of competition in the labor market. And if we look at the means of communication, we can say that the internet has brought with it an acceleration in communication, as well as a proliferation of extreme emotional expressions, hidden behind anonymity, in online media. Today, we need to build a strong trust in the brand that makes customers and the general public resistant to the increasing amount of fake news.
In terms of communication and marketing, what kind of changes has K&H Bank undergone in recent years?
The key to successful brand building is long-term thinking and consistency, that is why we continued with the key brand values defined in 2005. The image has been updated several times since then, with the aim of improving visibility and distinguishing the company from its competitors. We are advancing in the field of communication, because with the advancement of digitalization, it is essential to transform and expand our advertising tools. We advertise where we effectively reach our target audience.
Could you highlight initiatives that come from the intertwining of banking and culture? How can a good relationship be established and maintained between the two sectors?
A few years ago, K&H sold its art collection and started to establish a new collection that fits the bank’s values better. The K&H Group has commissioned an art advisory board to develop the concept for the new art collection. The name of the new contemporary Hungarian art collection is “Art for a Better, More Meaningful World”. In addition to renewal, we have also kept in mind a possible expansion, so we have created a creative scholarship program for young artists. The aim of the program is to provide financial support for the career start and development of artists, and at the end of the scholarship period to expand the K&H collection with their artworks. All of our activities, including the collection of new artworks, reflect our brand values, our innovative, modern approach and our momentum. It is also important that this is combined with expertise, which is why we worked with experts to create the collection. As the first of Hungarian companies, our newly refurbished fine art collection has become one of the most up-to-date corporate collections in the country.
Why is it important for K&H Bank to embrace and support certain social or cultural issues?
As a leading financial institution, we believe that beyond helping our clients make smart decisions, we are responsible for the society and environment in which we work. Therefore, as a responsible company, we are striving to respond to community needs and to contribute to members of society living a full life, in addition to providing financial sustainability. With our responsibility initiatives, we provide problem-solving assistance and development wherever it is needed the most. The main pillars of our sustainability strategy are environmental protection, entrepreneurship promotion, financial education and healthcare.
Which programs are you most proud of from your sponsorship activities?
Regarding financial education, I shall have to mention the ‘Ready, set, money!’ competition for primary and secondary school students for which we were awarded the title of Financial Awareness Ambassador by the Hungarian Banking Association. The aim of the program is to improve the financial and economic knowledge of Hungarian primary and secondary school students. We also consider it important to promote entrepreneurship and organize several programs on this topic. The K&H “Shop needed!” program, which encouraged the public to vote on the map of Hungary to indicate what kind of shops or services were needed in a certain area, was introduced a few years ago. Our Start it @K&H Entrepreneurial Incubator is helping domestic startups in establishing themselves on the market. Significant results have also been achieved in the field of environmental protection and in reducing our ecological footprint. We have been active in health care and sports for decades. We have been supporting the Hungarian Paralympic Committee and Paralympics for several years as well as the K&H Handball League. As for amateur sports, we have been supporting numerous running, cycling and swimming events. We are affiliated with one of the most well-known child health support programs, K&H Gyógyvarázs (‘Healing Magic’), which has been helping the quick recovery of children for sixteen years. More than four hundred times, we have provided hospitals and clinics with devices and equipment that facilitate the quicker and more effective diagnosis and treatment of children, in an amount of HUF 646 million.
As a PR professional, you have been involved in communications and marketing in many different sectors from Coca-Cola through Johnson & Johnson to K&H Bank over the past decades. In your opinion, how typical is the promotion of culture in the domestic for-profit sector?
Like other companies, over the past few years, K&H has supported the operation of many cultural institutions with their corporate tax allowance (TAO), which the general public, and even professionals, have heard little about because, by law, neither the donor nor the recipient could publicize it. With the transformation of the support system, both art institutions and the business community are facing a new challenge. We have to find the appropriate form and source of support to substitute the eliminated TAO.
Nóra Horváth Magyary is an economist and PR specialist. During her studies abroad, she specialized in marketing and communication, and then earned a postgraduate diploma in PR. She later studied to be a television editorial reporter. She began her professional career as a PR associate at various leading Hungarian and international communications agencies, then she worked for 6 years as the External Affairs and Communications Manager of The Coca-Cola Company in Hungary. She has been the Country Communications Officer of the K&H Group for 16 years. Her greatest professional successes include the Hungarian health PR communication of baby care products by Johnson & Johnson, the communication of the international Coca-Cola product quality crisis in Hungary, and the crisis communication of Hungary's biggest brokerage scandal to date, as well as conducting the K&H Group’s brand change and brand repositioning campaign and launching the K&H ‘Healing Magic’ social volunteering program for doctors. For years, she has been a member of the jury of the EFFIE and the Prizma Prize, as well as the 50 Talented Young Hungarians and the 50 Most Influential Media Personalities. Her awards include 1 Platinum, 2 Gold, 8 Bronze and 3 Silver EFFIEs, 1 Creative B2B Golden and Special Award, 1 Creative Prism Gold, 1 IPRA Golden World Award, 2 CSR Best Practice Certificates, 2 Golden Lollipops, 2 Bronze Arany Penge (Gold Blade) Awards and 1 Imre Sándor Grand PR Award.
Author: Réka Szakszon
Translation: Barbara Szij
Originally published in June 2019