What's in a Name?

April 7th, 2008

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the past week, you know the $8.5 billion merger between TD Bank Financial Group and Commerce Bancorp is now complete. Investors can breathe a sigh of relief now that the deal’s finalized, but it’s too soon to celebrate. The marketing and branding challenges for the combined entity, TD Commerce, are immense.

The good news is that the new name reflects a consistent effort on the part of TD to unify its portfolio of acquired companies. Similar to TD Commerce, Ameritrade is now TD Ameritrade and Banknorth is now TD Banknorth. That’s a start.

Perhaps the greatest challenge, however, will be to protect the Commerce brand post-merger. I’m not just talking about the impact of a name change or new logo or color switch from red to green. Sure, we’ll miss the distinctive red C, but that’s not what makes up the Commerce brand essence. An interview with then-CEO Vernon Hill in the book Mavericks at Work sheds some insight. In it, Hill speaks of creating ‘Wow’ experiences for customers, preaching ”fanatical execution,“ readying employees for ”showtime,“ and kindling a vibrant company culture. This is a bank that redefined the industry with simpler, easier and more convenient banking. Lose that company culture and that approach to banking, and the brand too is lost.

Bravo TD for recognizing the value of keeping the tagline “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” Now you’ll just need to prove that the claim still holds true.

Posted Under: Branding
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