Magazine article Marketing

Abbey Idea Had No Real Future

Magazine article Marketing

Abbey Idea Had No Real Future

Article excerpt

Abbey National's decision to abandon its attempt to create a new direct insurance company is puzzling. Not because of the decision, but because it took so long to decide that diluting marketing resources between two company brands makes little sense.

There is, of course, a precedent for setting up a new company to launch a new financial service. When Midland launched First Direct the obvious question might have been: why not simply call it Midland Direct and offer it to existing customers? That, after all, is what other clearing banks have done; Barclays with Barclay-call, for example.

Yet Midland had a strong reason for not using its own name. It's difficult to remember now, but 24-hour telephone banking was so revolutionary that it needed a new brand to express itself, and the customer profile was unlikely to match that of the parent bank.

Midland had, in any case, had an unfortunate brush with powerful sub-brands in the 80s, when it set up targeted accounts, like Orchard and Vector.

It's difficult to see similarities between that launch and the aborted start of Future. Abbey National's name is perfectly respectable, and there seems little problem in transferring its brand values to direct insurance. …

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