Identities for service industries ‘unfriendly’

A survey of high street brands undertaken by Corporate Edge has revealed some alarming consumer perceptions of company visual identities in the banking and utilities sectors.

Scottish logos within the two sectors failed to stimulate respondents at all. In the nationwide survey of 1000 consumers, fewer than one in ten “thought the visual identities of Scottish Power, Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland presented a friendly and approachable face”. Scottish Power, branded by the then Sampson Tyrell in 1990, was viewed as the least trusted of all the identities.

The survey reports that no symbol at all was considered both friendly and professional. Those symbols considered friendly it says, such as Legal & General’s umbrella motif, lacked professional credibility. More abstract symbols such as those of NatWest and HSBC were found to be “institutional and inaccessible” in the eyes of consumers.

Top of the poll were mainstream consumer brands McDonald’s and Wall’s – the latter developed by Carter Wong – found to be easily recognisable.

Corporate Edge chairman Peter Sampson explains the dichotomy.

“In an age where financial services and utilities are urgently striving to improve customer service standards and image, this survey shows their identities are letting them down… They have failed to make the transition from their traditional industrial and institutional roots,” he concludes.

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