July 10, 2015

Meeting Day 1 Bank Merger Rebranding Deadlines

bank merger rebranding timeline

I’ve been talking about bank merger rebranding to a lot of banking folks lately. While they all agree that going live with the new brand on the first business day after the bank merger is complete is ideal, very few CMOs and bank executives think it’s possible. It took one bank 120 days to change out the branding on only 12 branches after a bank merger deal closed. That’s way too long! It puts the customer relationships in jeopardy.

As I discussed in a previous blog, the timing to change out the branding and bank name is dictated by the terms of Purchase Agreements and approved by regulators. That may mean the new bank brand needs to appear on signs as soon as the bank merger is complete. Rapid brand implementation also allows the acquiring bank to communicate its brand and value to customers. Poor communication leads to uncertainty, which causes customers to look for new banking options.

When the new bank brand quickly appears on physical branded assets (signs, ATMs, transactional materials, etc.) and digital branded assets (websites, online statements, etc.) after a bank merger, customers more easily understand the acquiring bank’s brand and value proposition. Otherwise, customers will move their business to proactive banks that court them during the uncertainty of bank merger activity.

How do you prepare to go live on Day 1 of a Bank Merger?

  • Centralize control for the brand implementation by appointing an internal Project Sponsor.
  • Empower the Project Sponsor to plan the brand implementation project in advance with the right resources.
  • Hire outside resources with rebranding project management experience to ensure you meet deadlines, budget, and quality levels.
  • With the bank merger close date as the deadline, work backwards to schedule activities to meet the deadline. If possible, begin the brand implementation 180 or 90 days in advance. Start with Assessment and Value Engineering, which can be conducted as soon as merger talks are underway.
  • Embrace uniform specifications for signage and other brand touchpoints as opposed to allowing local sign companies and other supply chain vendors recreate the wheel and charge the bank a premium for customization.
  • Listen to brand implementation experts that have experience building the right supply chain for a bank merger. You want vendors that can meet your specs (manufacturing and installation), quality standards, budget and deadline.
  • Coordinate the flow of information and leverage technology to get daily updates on brand implementation progress.
  • To support brand management efforts, capture and retain the data about all branded assets.

Given all of the merger and acquisition activity in the banking sector, having a rebranding action plan allows you to meet your Day 1 bank merger rebranding deadline. It also prepares the bank for future M&A activity, so your customers are never left wondering what the name of their bank is.