Monday, January 21, 2008

Canara Bank : Together We Can

Brand : Canara Bank
Company : Canara Bank
Agency : O & M

Brand Analysis Count : 305

Canara Bank is the latest in the list of brands that has done a makeover. Canara Bank came into existence in 1906 as Canara Bank Hindu Permanent Fund. In 1910, the bank was renamed as Canara Bank Ltd.The bank became nationalized in 1969.
Canara Bank joins the list of public sector banks which has done an image makeover. Earlier State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Bank,South Indian Bank etc has done a major repositioning exercise.
Typically repositioning involves a major change in the brand's positioning and also brand elements like logo, color and slogan. Rebranding is a costly and risky venture because the brand is set to change the image which has been embedded in the mind of the customer since its launch.

Canara Bank in its new avatar sports a new logo, color and slogan. The new logo consists of two entwined triangles. The new logo designed by Ray & Keshavan is aimed at giving this 100 year old brand a youthful look. The rich blue aims at conveying stability scale and depth while the yellow color spreads optimism warmth and energy.( source : Canara Bank website)

The brand is also running a series of campaigns as a part of this image makeover. The ads now talk about the " Change " . The new communication revolves around the theme that ' Its easy to change for someone you care about ',hence the bank has changed for its customers. The ads show a series of instances where people change for their loved ones. One ad features a husband cooking for the wife, a wife learning cricket for the husband, mother learning Punjabi for the daughter in law etc. The ads strikes a chord with the audiences and conveys the message to perfection.

Canara Bank now sports a new slogan " Together We Can " . The new slogan replace the old slogan " Vikas ke liye Sewarth, Sewa ke liye Vikasarath "- where the focus was on the Service. The new slogan speaks more on achievement & aspiration rather than service.
The natural question that comes to our mind is about the purpose of rebranding exercise. Why should a bank which has a legacy of over 100 years change its brand elements ?

In the case of Canara Bank , the reason for this repositioning exercise can be -

Attract younger consumers : All these public sector banks has been affected by the aggressive marketing of new generation banks. The younger customers are lured away by the new-generation banks which are perceived to be more technologically advanced and customer friendly. To fight the competition , these old banks had to shed the " fuddy -duddy " image and has to be perceived as a modern bank. Heritage brands usually are perceived to be boring and slow. Hence an image makeover makes lot of sense.

Points of Parity : The emergence of new-gen banks has changed the points of parity associated with the industry. The old-generation banks has to make sure that they establish parity with the new scheme of associations. Hence the rebranding can help these banks to establish parity with the new-gen banks.

New Set of brand values : Changing environment often force brands to restructure or reinvent new set of brand values. The new generation demand new set of brand values. Hence brands often has to embark upon repositioning .

Rebranding is often expensive and risky. The Canara Bank Rebranding is expected to cost Rs 15 crore. When the brand changes its logo and slogan, the entire touch points has to be rebranded. In the Canara Bank's case , the bank has to change the signages in over 2600 branches and countless ATM's. The expenses are also incurred in changing the letterpads , office setups and what not ! Everything in the company has to be changed.

But can this rebranding exercise yield positive results ?

The result depends on the depth of this rebranding exercise . Canara Bank is in the service industry. Any rebranding should be supported by a paradigm change in the service of the bank. If the bank's internal operations does not reflect the new positioning, more damage will be done .
Hence this rebranding hopefully may have been backed by an intense training program of the employees, a thorough restructuring of the processes and a set of new products to cater to the new customer class. Any rebranding without such back-end restructuring will be only cosmetic in nature and will neither justify the money spent nor yield long-term results . SBI had faced similar issue when the employees went for a strike soon after the bank launched its high profile rebranding exercise. Rebranding / repositioning also throws up lot of internal cultural issues because the bank is breaking a 100 year old culture and embarking on a new set of values and systems. Hence this exercise is more strategic in nature because it is the corporate brand which is being repositioned.

Canara Bank has got a perfect start interms of the campaigns. It is now upto the management to makesure that it delivers on the new set of promises .