Name Change for RBS – But Will it Help Them Shake Their Tainted Reputation?

Most brands aim for global recognition and achievement, but for RBS (Global Banking Group, more commonly known as Royal Bank of Scotland) their brand strategy sees a change to focus on a more local strategy.  Rebranding their England, Wales and Scotland branches in a strategic move to re-build their reputation from their grass roots up.

1) Taking it back

Stripping the brand back to its roots, may not be such a bad thing for RBS.  The banking group which saw the government bail them out with £45billion worth of tax payers money, has faced nothing but deep criticism from the media and public over the past few years.


To change their focus now and incorporate this into their re-branding can be seen to some as a way to cover up even more problems or if communicated correctly it will show customers that they see what’s important now and that they’re strongly focussing on this to help them re-build the trust and consumer confidence which was lost.

RBS_rebrand_the_branding_journal_12) New brand names

In England and Wales it’s reported that over 300 branches will be rebranded as Williams and Glyn branches.  While in Scotland, really taking it back to pre-crisis, the branches will be rebranded as Royal Bank of Scotland.

For the brand they are going back to point in time where the brand stood for something positive, it was strong, customers believed in it and supported it.  Distancing itself from a tainted reputation and image for RBS can only be a good thing and in a sense they’re holding their hands up to the public to admit that maybe they did lose focus – but with the re-brand and the renaming, they’re putting their customers first, before their profits and growth.

3) The future

Well this is a new strategy for the flailing bank and one which is not often seen. You don’t see too many companies shouting about downsizing their strategy from global domination to local more focused branding.


But reported in The Times David Wheldon, former Barclays brand chief and president of the World Federation of Advertisers, commented that the latest changes to the brand signal that it’s “no longer a global bank with ambitions to be the biggest.”

For RBS a rebrand is probably necessary and their approach to take it back to its roots is a wise choice.  It almost signals a new bank, building its reputation from scratch and gaining customer confidence and trust as they go.  It simply depends on how much the 2008 banking crisis did affect the company and if this trust can be rebuilt, or are they simply placing new logos over a damaged and unfixable brand?

And don’t forget to bear in mind the bank will be looking to float the newly renamed Williams and Glyn in the not so distant future.

References:  Brand ChannelThe DrumThe Times
Pictures From: Brand ChannelThe Drum,

Amanda is a copywriter with over 10 years’ experience in the world of marketing and communications. With an effective and no nonsense approach, she can look at any challenge with a creative and can do attitude.

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