I read with great interest your article on the identity crisis of Abbey and the accompanying back catalogue of rebranding flops (DW 21 April). It strikes me that the flaw of this, and most other rebranding initiatives, is that it was effectively offering something it didn’t try to deliver – ‘to turn banking on its head’.
Designers and marketers have only themselves to blame when trying to straddle this credibility gap. Through the emergence of branding as a pseudo-science (‘…helping our clients assess internal brand alignment with their vision to develop integrated internal initiatives…’, to quote from a brand consultant’s website), it has become an end in itself, rather than an extension and communication of the product or service.
The branding dinosaurs are going to have to wake up to the fact that in a world where message saturation is expanding at an exponential rate, what an organisation does is worth infinitely more than what it says it is about.
Design has a critical role in this if it is to be used as a tool to re-shape organisations and what they do, rather than putting a new gloss or spin on an old, generic service.
Neil McGuire, Offbrand, via e-mail