I wasn’t that surprised when Spanish banking giant Santander announced that it’d be axing UK high street brands Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester. But when insurer Norwich Union rebranded as Aviva, I wondered why…
It costs a fortune in time and effort to create a brand. And a great brand is commercial gold dust. So is rebranding a good idea? Ordinarily I’d say no. Take Norwich Union. They enjoyed an immensely strong brand until they changed their name to something that sounds as though Vic Reeves made it up. Uvavu, Eranu… Aviva! Why throw away decades of invaluable brand equity, recognition, awareness and loyalty? No idea, but one can only assume it was commercially advantageous.
But Santander’s rebranding of Abbey, B&B and Alliance and Leicester is different. All three were disgraced by the credit crunch, their brands seriously damaged. Instead of standing for trust and familiarity they reflected avarice and short sightedness. Here, re-branding seems like the best move.