Last week ING Direct Canada announced that it will be changing its name to Tangerine in the Spring of 2014. ING Direct, the country’s largest online-only bank, is required to change its name within eighteen months from the date of its acquisition under the terms of its sale to the Bank of Nova Scotia back in September, 2012.
- It represents an astute understanding of the leverage and impact that different naming strategies can have on corporate entities
- It ensures the new brand name will quickly be linked to a key aspect of its current visual identity that anchors the brand’s associations in the minds of its customers
Understanding the leverage and impact of naming strategies
In an earlier post, “Choosing a naming strategy for an acquired brand and business” I made the case that that the right strategic choice for the Bank of Nova Scotia was to choose
… a name that is distinct from the current Scotiabank brand and which is intended to maintain a similar identity and meaning to ING Direct: one that replaces “ING DIRECT” with a completely new standalone brand name.
This was based on the assumption that the Bank of Nova Scotia would not change the value proposition offered by the new brand from that which was offered by the formerly named ING Direct Canada.
The Bank of Nova Scotia’s
…singular challenge will be to maintain ING’s 1.8 million customers and their deposits. This is because many Canadians chose to bank with ING Direct precisely because it was The Unbank that offered a clear alternative to traditional banks through its unique value proposition and business model. Many of them may have actually left Scotiabank, or one of its traditional competitors, to go to ING Direct.
Robin Hibberd, executive vice president, retail products and services, Canadian banking, Scotiabank, recognized the need to maintain the unique positioning of ING Direct as reported in the Toronto Star:
The one name that wasn’t on the table was anything that included the word Scotia…
That was absolutely not one of the options right from the point where we purchased ING Direct,” Hibberd said. “We did not want to integrate the two brands or the two operations. We bought ING direct because of the value of its brand and customer relationships and all the things that were unique about that.
Given the decision to maintain the value proposition and distinctiveness of this new acquisition, the choice of Tangerine as a new standalone brand name is a smart naming strategy by the team at the Bank of Nova Scotia.
Ensuring the new brand is speedily associated with the ING Direct proposition
In the same Toronto Star report, Peter Aceto, chief executive of ING Direct Canada comments:
The search for a new brand name started nearly a year ago, after Bank of Nova Scotia bought ING Direct Canada for $3.1 billion from its European parent ING Groep NV. The process included focus groups, surveys and outside expertise… We wanted to capture a few things that are really important to us…We’ve been in Canada 16 years. We have almost 2 million customers. We’ve built a reputation. We wanted our name to reflect who we are…We also wanted to do something else. As more and more Canadians are interested in doing business with a bank that doesn’t have branches, we wanted a name that speaks to the future.
Kevin Lane Keller, a leading authority on brand naming, states that a new brand name should be weighed against six key criteria:
In Canada we might add that it needs to work in both official languages. “Tangerine” passes the test for every one of these criterion.
Because “Tangerine” is a familiar word, the efforts of the marketing communications team can focus on associating “Tangerine” with the value proposition customers have come to know and expect from ING Direct.
The colour orange is an important anchor for the ING Direct brand in the minds of its customers. By using orange in the new identity and branding this linkage is maintained, making their task simpler. Customers will quickly be able to recognize the brand and to distinguish it from its competitors.
“Tangerine” is also an unusual and distinctive name for a bank. This will improve its recognition and recallability by current and prospective customers and set the brand apart as The Unbank, a brand that offers a clear alternative to traditional banks through its unique value proposition and business model.
Choosing “Tangerine” to replace ING Direct is a smart decision. Kudos to the team at the Bank of Nova Scotia!
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