Right Message, Wrong Time

  |  November 2, 2008   |  Comments

So on Halloween, I dropped by my bank to deposit a check

commerce bank.jpgSo on Halloween, I dropped by my bank to deposit a check. Only my bank wasn't my bank any more. It was in costume. The red, white and blue Commerce Bank logo was replaced by something green and utterly unfamiliar: signage for something called the TD Bank.

I kept walking, aggravated that I'd have to make a detour to anyother branch. Then, something strange caught my eye: the bank's interior was identical to the way it looked last time I was there. So I entered and the security guard confirmed that my longtime bank had renamed itself. Effective today.

Today? But...but....you've already got the new signage up!

Well, thanks a lot for letting me know. It wasn't until the following day that the bank's Web site contained a notice, or that I found the Reuters story reporting the change, a story that predated the signage change at the branch I almost didn't enter, thinking this was an institution I didn't bank with.

Where's my e-mail notification? Where's the letter to customers from the bank? Why isn't there a sign in the window telling customers that yes, this is still their bank branch?

Banks build brands on foundations of trust, endurance and familiarity. This name change apparently has nothing to do with the economic fallout of recent weeks.

So how could management allow this to occur with zero participation from the marketing department? The mind boggles. And while I've always been more than a satisfied customer, the experience jarred me enough to consider relocating what remains of my financial empire.


Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.

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