Brands You Can Take to the Bank!

Last week, I drove by some sign for Citizen’s Bank. It registered in my obsessive brand-consciousness that this was a particularly weak logo – what do a bunch of arrows pointing to one another have to do with anything? Then, going on their website, I noted that the tagline is, at least, consistent with the logo – weak and meaningless. The name of the bank isn’t bad, but someone please invest some money in a better identity campaign!

That got me thinking of another bank that recently went through a merger and re-branding. Just what is a Wachovia, anyway? And what is the logo trying to portray? Shouldn’t a name and logo have a certain self-evident meaning to it? If someone has to ask how to pronounce something, or query as to the meaning of a logo, then the game is over before it starts.

I happen to bank at Bank of America – only because the branch where we started banking long ago has gone through however many mergers, and BofA is the last acquirer of record! BofA’s logo is strong, although their prior campaign slogan (Higher Standards) had no particular emotional content. However, the new BofA campaign (Bank of Opportunity) directly speaks to people’s aspirations, and their new ads are quite effective.

Of all bank names, however, none sinks lower in my mind than Fifth Third Bank, with their highly intuitive web address, http://www.53.com. What were these people thinking? And how are they going to compete with First Third, Second Third, Third Third, and Fourth Third? What if First Second opened up down the street (tagline: 1/2 the Bank You Expected!)?

So, what are your most (and least) favorite bank brands, and why?

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

One Response to Brands You Can Take to the Bank!

  1. Jim says:

    I happen to bank at Wachovia, but not because of their brand or even a deliberate choice. I used to bank at Alexander Hamilton because it was close to my house (or more accurately, my parent’s house) and that’s where my father banked. So I chose it because the person who taught me about banking chose it for me. Back then I had so little money (nothing like what I observe teens today having, though I’m sure I worked harder for what I did have) that choice of bank was of no concern. Years later I switched to First Fidelity. A good name for a financial institution, but not why I switched. I switched because of a merger. First Fidelity became First Union and eventially Wachovia. Through each transformation, my basic checking and savings needs were being met so I felt no need to change.

    Like most people, I’ve done business with a number of different banks over the years, and never once was brand the foremost decision point. It was always the terms of the offer being discussed. I wonder if that’s not the way most folks choose a bank.

    By the way, it may be unintentional on their part, but as I was experimenting with the proper what to pronounce Wachovia, what stuck in my head was Watch Over Ya, and that isn’t a bad thing for a bank to be doing for its customers.

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