RBS: are they getting ready to turn off the patient’s life support system?

By in banking, general, management, strategy, uncategorized on Friday, 27 May 2011

Can anyone tell me what message RBS is using for its current media campaign? Sure, NatWest’s you may know, but what about RBS?
RBS - will the Royal Bank of Scotland brand disappear - and would will replace it?

Although owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest isn’t as hated as its parent. Strange, because really NatWest’s no better – some may even say its worse.

I’d like to talk a little about NatWest, but lets concentrate first on RBS as a brand. What can be done with a brand so damaged it’s lost the trust of its market?

Past the point of no return?

Any company whose top management has engaged in dubious and downright incompetent practices will have built a culture so aligned to it that to simply remove key players will have little positive impact on how it behaves.

In banking particularly, the only people who thrive are those who share the same attitudes and working practices as the managers above them.

Anyone with any talent who aspires for better would never stay in such a place – they’d have moved to a role that worked better for them long ago.

So, we’re left with a bank with poor management and a culture of complacency. But RBS remains a cornerstone of our financial infrastructure, it can’t be killed off. What can be done with this banking anachronism?

Slipping out of the public spotlight

So we’re back to NatWest. NatWest fell victim to an audacious takeover by RBS. While NatWest had more English High Street presence – and more market share, RBS was a bigger bank overall.

NatWest is big in England, but not a global brand like RBS. Could that change?

Group marketing strategy is clearly trying to push NatWest’s brand centre stage. Terms like helpful, customer commitment and charter are strong brand builders. But look at NatWest – Its a subjugated, boring brand. It can’t save RBS.

Looking for a hero brand

Maybe the only thing that can save RBS is the creation of a new banking brand. Something new, vibrant and fresh.

Still part of the same group, but offering a service that’s refreshing and different. Will that happen?

We have to remember the rotten corporate culture deeply engrained within RBS. The bank would need drastic surgery to root out the disease that pervades it.

Will the government use its muscle to put in new people to force that change?

I feel they have no choice. RBS as a brand is finished. Time to hit the off switch. Let’s see a new name on our high street.

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