Bradford & Bingley looks at bowler hat overhaul

High street bank Bradford & Bingley is in the throes of a major brand overhaul and has appointed The Partners and Value Engineers to work collaboratively on the project.

High street bank Bradford & Bingley is in the throes of a major brand overhaul and has appointed The Partners and Value Engineers to work collaboratively on the project.

Value Engineers is to take the lead on the development of a brand proposition and The Partners is tasked with developing a creative solution to be employed across a wide range of applications.

No firm decision has been made about the future of the bank’s bowler hat brand marque, but The Partners managing partner Jim Prior insists ‘everything is up for grabs – branch interiors, literature, the identity’.

‘We’ve been briefed to look at everything, to work on the Bradford & Bingley proposition and brand direction. We’ll assess what needs to change and then change it,’ says Prior.

‘We’ll be looking to add some personality into it,’ he adds. ‘The big question is whether or not we keep the bowler hats. They are an instantly recognisable symbol but [you could question] what it actually says about the brand.’

According to Prior, Bradford & Bingley was ‘one of the great old advertisers’, but he says it now needs to deliver a more modern image.

‘The bank is not performing as well as it would have liked since de-mutualisation and a lot of other financial services brands have been through extensive modernisation programmes recently,’ he explains. ‘Bradford & Bingley is looking to get its contemporary relevance back.’

The bank has been re-organising its business over the past 18 months. It closed its in-store sub-brand MarketPlace last year after only three years in operation. The role of group marketing director was also axed earlier this year.

Warren Langley, who was appointed to the newly-created role of marketing communications director nine weeks ago, is heading up the current rebranding project.

The Partners was appointed last month, following a competitive pitch and is now about to begin creative work.

Six Bradford & Bingley branches have been selected to pilot the new design and service offers, with the work likely to roll out early next year.

Bradford & Bingley

• Formed in 1964 and de-mutualised to become a public limited company in December 2000

• Current logo created in 1999 by Diefenbach Elkins Davies Baron, now FutureBrand

• After eight years with M&C Saatchi advertising agency, B&B is now pitching to appoint a new agency for £3.5m creative account

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