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What’s in a brand?

Perhaps less is more when it comes to branding.

Originally I had a bit of a dig at Prudential’s joint protection venture with Discovery for coming up with the rather uninspired name PruProtection.

But in light of recent rebrands, it seems I may have been hasty as frankly I prefer PruProtection to the other company names emerging from the woodwork in the past few weeks.

GE Life is the latest provider to throw its new name into the ring though MM stole its thunder by breaking the news that it would now be known as Tomorrow.

Does the consumer care if a company is called Liverpool Victoria or LV=, GE Life or Tomorrow? Probably not, except that it makes the world of financial services even more confusing.

If a life office has an established brand name then renaming it appears to undo all the good work the firm has done in building up its reputation.

GE Life and Liverpool Victoria are not perhaps the most dynamic names but by now they are recognisable to consumers.

Comments from advisers have generally been that Tomorrow is frankly a little bit naff and LV= feels gimmicky. Brands, it seems, are sadly taking the Cool Britannia, New Labour and “Dave the Chameleon” route in a bid to reinvent themselves.

Scottish Widows is a great example of how effective consistent branding can be. Like Madonna, the Widow has reinvented herself over the years by using different models, updated capes or varied location shots.

Though she has been revamped, the essential brand has remained intact and hence it is a powerful image that generations of consumers understand.

At least PruProtection, though dull, is a recognisable name which acknowledges its heritage and doesn’t attempt to be gimmicky.

I promise this will be the last My Money Marketing on rebrands for some time – that is, unless Standard Life decides to become STL+ or Skandia changes its name to Yesterday.


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