Question: Who would name their company something like BGLI-RWUH?

Answer: TIAA-CREF.

OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh. I’m sure there are historical reasons that led to this unfortunate corporate moniker. But please – history aside, can’t we come up with a name that is pronounceable? Why cling to a brand name that is the marketing equivalent of a race car with square tires? With a logo that could have been created in 10 minutes using Powerpoint?

I “Google” when I search. I buy “Kleenex” of many different brands. But under no circumstances would I ever “TIAA-CREF”. It’s a name jumbled together to communicate precisely nothing to the uninitiated.

Based on what TIAA-CREF offers, they’d be better off with a name like Investiva, or something similar. I’d instinctively know what that company is all about.

Then there’s the tagline. With Allstate, I’d be in “good hands” (except that I primarily use Amica – but that’s a subject for another post). I understand being in good hands – that appeals to my self-interest. But do I walk around thinking about “Financial Services for the Greater Good”? Er, no, actually. The Greater Good is for charity. Not for financial services.

And while we’re piling on, it makes no sense for the prominent feature on the website to be a “boast” panel saying “Welcome to our redesigned website (Learn More)”. If the site has been redesigned with me in mind, that should be self-evident – if I need a guided tour to use it, then the design is a failure. And if the design is good, then I don’t need a tour to tell me that the section means what the section says.

Maybe a company with this many assets doesn’t feel a need to project itself optimally. I hope never to afford that luxury!

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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.

2 Responses to BGLI-RWUH

  1. Anon Art Director says:

    I was google searching TIAA-CREF when I came across this post. I am shocked that you would post something so uneducated – clearly you did not research the company.

    If you know branding – you know the first thing is to know your audience. TIAA-CREF is recognized in their industry. Maybe you should go to their website to try and understand the brand before you make a statement.

    TIAA-CREF is about history: the name stands for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF). Because of its history it is relevant. It would be stupid to throw out a history that people know and trust. You have clearly have bad taste: Investiva? Maybe you could come up with a nice swoosh logo with a gradient for that too?

    You thinking the logo could be designed in PPT? Try it – oh wait – you can design great typography in PPT. Might not be my taste, but at least the typography is good.

    You not getting the tag line – you need to do your research – only people who work at hospitals and schools and research institutions can enroll in TIAA-CREF – people who work for ‘the greater good’. The people TIAA-CREF set up retirement accounts for – work for ‘charity’.

    Modernista designed their brand and did an excellent job. They have good taste. Hope you find some, oh, and research before you come to conclusions. That is helpful too.

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