British Pride – you just can’t beat it

British Pride is something you can’t package – it’s just there.  And it’s something people take very seriously.  In many cases, brands have built loyal customer bases on this very, special quality: British Beef, British Pies, British Ale, British Pride.

So I’m shocked to hear that the heads at Santander plan to put to bed our be-loved home brands of Abbey, Bradford and Bingley and Alliance and Leicester, and replace them with the Santender logo, name and policies.  They may have saved some of our banks but at the end of the day, they’re an unknown player to the man at home, and the big question is – if going down this road and dumping the original branding of these long standing banks and building societies – will their customer base walk away with it?

It’s common knowledge that as a nation, we Brits find comfort in traditional brands – it’s familiar and homely.  Particularly in times of need, such as the recession, we are more often than not, drawn to brands which embrace these connotations as they offer reassurance and familiarity in such uncertain times.   Successes of this nature, can easily be seen with brands such as Warbutons, Morrisons and Ariel who wouldn’t have enjoyed such successful advertising campaigns when reminding us how of far we have come with them.

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So is it that Santender fail to notice the relationship between British people and British brands, or that they choose to ignore it because they think their own brand is far more superior?

According to the news report on the BBC,
Santendar believe confidence will increase with this “make over” due to their strength and reliability as a bank…which in fairness, did come to our rescue.  However, banking analyst Leigh Goodwin says this is definitely a risk and, in his view, a mistake. “Abbey has good value as a trusted brand in the mortgage and savings arena, staff will be upset and there will be a potential loss of customers.” And personally, I couldn’t agree more.

Brands such as Abbey, Alliance and Leicester and Bradford and Bingley are considered the down to earth, stable banks – (even if they weren’t physically in the recent crisis)…in our minds they are.  They are British; they’re a part of us and because of that we trust them, support them and believe in them.  They are the “people’s bank”.  And so, in such a time of financial confusion, do Santender really feel it apt to sooth their own ego by stamping out these names in place of a large, corporate establishment?

Maybe they should take a closer look at their investment and the people they are now servicing?  With a little dusting off, Susan Boyle has shined upon the world which watches her.  With a little nurturing, who’s to say, the same would not be seen, and supported, of Santender’s latest adopted brands?

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