TSB – suddenly nothing happened

The brand team at TSB have done an incredible job. The logistics and co-ordination behind changing 630 branches overnight are breathtaking. Anyone who has worked in brand land will know just how difficult and amazing a feat this is.

Changing 630 of these is no small job
Changing 630 of these is no small job

And the promise – a return to local values, looking out for little people, banking as it used to be, all feels great. The animation and the resurrection of Reverend Henry Duncan make for a heartwarming and zeitgesity return to “proper banking”.

Aaah. What a wonderful world.

But pop along to your local TSB and – in the words of Neddie Seagoon in the Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler – “suddenly nothing happened. But it happened suddenly mark you”.

The signs may have changed – the name has changed, the logo has changed – and there’s a statement of intent about a return to values. But nothing has changed really. The vision in the YouTube clip and the rebadged Lloyds branch couldn’t be further apart.

but what's different?
but what’s different?

If TSB aspires to be a challenger to the established lot of undifferentiated, humourless and humanless UK retail banks (and boy do we need a challenger) then it should have launched with some big, new and substantive differences in both product and service. It should feel different from day one – not the same just in different colours.

These days rebranding means doing things differently from day one. Rebadging isn’t rebranding. It’s expensive and delivers no value to the customers let alone anyone else.

You’d never dream of launching a challenger brand without clearly defined and articulated points of difference that are – well – challenging.  You need people to recognise from day one that you’re serious and you mean business.

That doesn’t mean you have to do everything on day one – just pick one thing that can exemplify what you’re intending to do – and do it. 

Rock bottom prices in no frills airlines; per second billing for Orange; Sky’s all the sport you want not just Grandstand; the cut out the middleman model of Direct Line; 24/7 banking from First Direct.

It feels as if the TSB team have been worrying primarily about how to migrate the existing Lloyds customers without pissing them off. Which is a bit namby pamby if you’re in the business of reinventing banking. They forgot to find just the one thing that might bring Rev Henry Duncan back to life.

An animated film, a new name and a new sign simply doesn’t do it.

Amazing logistics job and lovely promise. Two big cheers for the TSB brand team. But a big raspberry for not having the nerve and the ambition to live up to the promise from day one.

(BTW I am sorry if you’re seeing ads here – I love WordPress, and understand they need to make a living, just wish they’d find a different way).

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