Right Message, Wrong Time

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.

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