Saturday, 14 September 2013

Innocence Regained?

Lloyds Bank is undergoing a divorce from TSB, imposed by the European Competition Authority. The bank was bailed out by the British government aka the taxpayers in 2009 and will now be operating as Lloyds Bank and TSB with the intention of making the market healthier and more competitive.

It's interesting to see how the rebranding of the two "new" banks is going. The head of marketing at Lloyds Bank has said that the "area of focus will be our heritage and our quality of service. We have a long history and customers are familiar with us."

So far, so good. It certainly makes sense to return to where you were before you were bad and dirty and maybe pick up from there. And the cover of the customer brochure I got the other day took me right back to the 70s when my parents opened an account for me at our local Lloyds Bank. Back to the caravanning holidays in Scotland that we had in those days.

But the letter that accompanied the brochure destroyed that first kindling of goodwill towards the "new" Lloyds Bank. Customers may well be familiar with the bank but just how familiar is the bank with its customers?

Not very, if the letter is anything to go by.

"Over the coming days you'll start to see changes on the High Street." Um ... if you look at my address, you'll see I live in Germany and the only changes I'll be seeing on my "High Street" are the graffiti on the election posters, not the kind of changes that you mean.

And then all this "new Lloyds Bank/becoming Lloyds Bank" stuff. I know it's 18 years ago, but I never could get used to Lloyds TSB. The campaign is obviously designed and written by people who were about 6 in 1995.

In the great scheme of things, none of this will annoy me enough to start looking around for a new bank. But for brands that revert, for whatever reason, to an old name have to be careful how this is managed.

It could be the difference between being welcomed as the prodigal son or suffering the fate of Thomas Wolfe's hero: "You can't go home again."

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