So, megabank Santander is to rebrand its UK subsidiaries, gobbling up such old high street names as Abbey, Alliance and Leicester and Bradford and Bingley. Gut instinct says it must make all kinds of sense. The sub-brands no longer have he profile they once did, nor I would guess, attract the same loyalty they once did as mutuals. Santander is not a completely alien name in the UK, and the economies of scale and reach the bank can achieve in mounting global campaigns and butressing the status of the main brand seems eminently sound.
I just find myself wondering whether the great and good at Santander also just worked on that simple, empirical logic? Or did they do a brand evaluation and really but some figures against the value of their brands. I say this out of my experience of major financial institutions. Where their whole ethos is built upon numbers, values and calculations, strategic brand decisions are curiously more often made without such rigorous calculations of brand values. Looking at the £12m they say the exercise will cost, I am sure they know exactly what savings they will make in stationery and marketing communications… but have they really worked out the value of those brands? When such decisions are made the oligarchic structure of the bank tends to kick in and corporate egos take over.
That said, my gut feeling is it is the right thing to do for an international brand… but moving from an endorsed identity to a monlithic one is a brave step and not without its hazards. In today’s climate, especially for financial institutions, putting all your eggs in one brand basket may be a risky endeavour.