Monday, January 10, 2022 – In their recent article on financial institutions dropping “bank” from their name, the Financial Brand explores some of the reasons behind why some banks are deciding they no longer want to be called banks. While still a rare occurrence, this choice brings some distinctive branding challenges to be sure. “There might be some banks, especially large banks with great brand awareness, that are considering it,” says Juliet D’Ambrosio, Adrenaline’s managing director of strategy. “But it’s probably not viable for 95% of institutions.”
That’s because brand awareness with smaller and mid-size financial services organizations isn’t as high as the big banks. “So, think about the increase in marketing dollars you would have to spend on brand awareness and overcoming the awareness gap,” according to Juliet D’Ambrosio. “I think for most banks, they need to proudly own the category they are in.” Likely attributable to the rise of fintechs, dropping "bank" from a FI’s brand may be even more tempting to successfully compete with organizations with simple and memorable names, like Ally or Chime.
While institutions with legacy labels might be attracted to such sleek names, there are not insignificant risks – principally the loss of consumer trust. Despite the notion that banking is unpopular among consumers, data shows that 73% of consumers do trust their own financial institution. “Customers want trust now more than ever,” according to Juliet D’Ambrosio. “Banks and credit unions have that trust in spades. Fintechs are newer and a bit less tried and true. So, if you drop the word bank from your name, that sense of ambiguity might work against you.”
Another trusted institution, credit unions are taking a different tack. According to the Financial Brand, a significant trend a decade ago was CUs dropping the words “credit union” from their name to for more head-on competition with banks. Now, they’re re-embracing their own designation to better distinguish themselves from banks, using the credit union moniker in their brand, marketing materials and beyond. A fact that Gina Bleedorn, Chief Experience Officer at Adrenaline points out in the work the agency did recently with a client that added the words “credit union” back into its name after removing them more than a decade ago.
For all of Adrenaline’s insights, read the Financial Brand’s full article on Why Some Institutions Dropped ‘Bank’ from Their Brand (and Why Most Shouldn’t).
The Financial Brand is a digital publishing platform focused on brand, marketing and strategy in financial services. Serving high-level leaders, the trade publication features ideas, insights and information for banks and credit unions building their brands and covers a range of critical issues facing FIs today, including technology, customer service and branch transformation.
To speak with one of our thought leaders on bank and credit union naming and branding best practices, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to stay tuned in to Believe in Banking as it highlights industry insights and Adrenaline’s Perspective channel for banking and credit union strategies for success.
Adrenaline is a brand experience company that creates and implements end-to-end branded experiences through creative and environmental design. We enhance our clients’ customer experiences across digital and physical channels, from their branding and advertising to design and technology in their spaces. After transforming an organization’s brand, Adrenaline extends it across all touchpoints — from employees to the market to in-store environments. And, we focus on serving industries that sell human experiences including financial, healthcare, sports and entertainment.