There’s an article in the Times today, reporting on Santander’s plans to ‘scrap’ some of its sub-brands in the UK -
Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley are all going, and their branches will be rebranded Santander.
The overall tone of the article strikes me as both a bit jingoistic - Spanish banking group scraps historic British banks - and also essentially conservative; it’s change, it must be bad.
The most interesting section of page for those who read the piece online is, to my way of thinking, the comments. So the readers of the Times’ print edition will miss out on the additional balance these bring to the story. A cross-section of these shows the range and tone;
…stop getting so hung up on all this “british”…what difference does it make? nationalism is horrible
…they should change their customer service not the name !!!
That’s another bit of national history that crumbles away
No problems. Vodafone has done the same with numerous phone companies all around the world, including Spain’s Airtel, and the world hasn’t stopped.
Doesn’t matter how old a name is it’s still got to mean something good or of value to a consumer. Abbey like County and Midland doesn’t have a value proposition for consumers and consumers will not miss the name/brand.
That will mean four branches of Santander in my local town centre. Guess what will happen next.
And so on… A few hours after the article was published online, there were nearly 30 comments, representing a broad spectrum of common sense views as well as a couple of shouty monomaniacs.
I don’t see social media commentators going on about the vibrant communities that have formed around the traditional newspapers’ online content, and a quick search of Twitter for the Santander / Bradford & Bingley story shows that there was little or no ‘trending’ other than media owners (Telegraph / Guardian etc.) distributing their articles, and a few retweets of these links.
For all the noise around Twitter, it’s still a minority game in the UK compared to online newspaper readership (leading newspapers - Guardian, Telegraph etc. have c. 25m unique visitors a month; Twitter has c. 1m UK users), and that’s something that those who are trying to integrate traditional PR and the emerging discipline of social media marketing need to take account of.