If there is one branding and logo design trend that seemed to overtake the UK last year, it is rebranding. All around us, corporations are changing their logos and brands to accommodate a rapidly changing customer base. One excellent example of this is the name change of several well-known banks in London and the UK to Santander.
Spanish banking giant Santander has owned several UK banks, such as Bradford & Bingley, for many years. However, these banks until 2009 kept their unique identities, including their brand and logo design. However, the company is undergoing and in some cases has completed the process of changing the names and logos to that of the parent brand.
What does this mean for a bank? First, this is more than a change of name. Bradford & Bingley, for example, had a well recognized logo design with a classic British bowler hat. The change in name means that this logo will be replaced with the coffee cup finance logo design used by Santander. This transition from a British icon to a more continental one may not resonate in places such as Yorkshire.
Rebranding can be a saving grace to a company that is no longer inspiring customers, but it can be an outright disaster as well. Santander hopefully has looked at the cautionary tale of the Royal Mail. Although the brand’s change to a new name and logo design seemed like it would increase equity, the public’s reaction to the new Consignia was overwhelmingly negative. On the other hand, many British companies have found great success in modifying their brand and logo design, especially if the change is less drastic than the given example.
This is hardly an inexpensive decision for Santander, with the price tag at around twelve million pounds, and it will mean having to woo the UK public that already had confidence in the existing brands. The British do not like to be marginalized, as can be seen from the branding disaster that occurred when British Airlines removed the familiar Union Jack from their airplanes. However, the decision may save money in the long run, as the Santander brand will be able to coordinate marketing campaigns in the many countries where their banks have locations.
In order to find success in rebranding, Santander will have to convince the public that their banking experience will be the same or even better than what they experienced with the older, differently named entities. If this message can be portrayed in a convincing and believable manner, the move may be a boon for the company.
Can a Spanish banking brand resonate with the UK public? The change is too new for its efficacy to be judged as of yet, but it should be noted that the existing banks had brands that were losing steam almost by the day, while the Santander brand has been gaining prominence all over the world. If Santander puts effort into rebranding the banks with careful attention to the massive and fickle UK customer base, they just might be able to sell their coffee logo design to a tea-loving public.