Business Today

Banking on the brand

Canara Bank wants to be a super-speciality supermarket.

     Print Edition: January 27, 2008

The country’s largest nationalised public sector bank (PSB), Canara Bank, is sporting a new look with a new brand identity. In a major image makeover, the bank has unveiled a new logo, the fourth in the bank’s 101-year-old history.

The previous logo with the catchphrase— Serving to Grow, Growing to Serve—lasted 40 years, and the new logo is intended to be trendy and puts customer and investors on a pedestal.

Indeed, for M.B.N. Rao, Chairman & Managing Director, Canara Bank, the new logo is symbolic of the ties between the bank and its stakeholders. “The customers and bank go hand in hand. Banking no longer happens the way it did earlier.

We now work in partnership with customers,’’ Rao says. The new symbol, according to him, is simple and memorable, and easy to recall. “The new brand is aligned internally with our value system and externally with the image we want to create. It builds personality in the eyes of the stakeholders and projects a modern outlook.’’

But what was wrong with the old logo that was so entrenched in the minds of the bank’s vast clientele? Rao explains that many customers are not aware of the capabilities and the range of products and services the bank offers today. This became evident when Canara Bank commissioned an independent research two years ago, which revealed that people had the same old perception about the bank of it being a stodgy, traditional PSB. The reality, however, is that Canara Bank had added an array of new products like SB Gold, Can Premium Account and, Canchamp for children, and was offering new services like Internet Banking with fund transfer and Core Banking Solutions, and had upgraded technology. That’s when it decided that a new brand positioning and identity was necessary. Enter wellknown brand consultants, Ray-Kesavan WPP.

The consultants came up with 32 options for logos, which were short-listed to six after much filtering. Eventually a symbol of two seamlessly connected links representing a bond was chosen. Overnight, Canara Bank display boards wore a new look everywhere.

“Ours was the fastest brand image makeover ever executed in the country,’’ says Rao with a sense of pride. The bank, the CMD notes, can meet the needs of nextgen customers.

“There is likely to be increased competition in financial services sector from new entrants, both foreign as well as domestic. The banking turf will see the presence of foreign players in about two years in line with India’s WTO commitments. And Canara Bank is prepared to compete. “At this time, we want to benchmark customer aspirations. Our idea is to become a super-speciality, one-stop financial supermarket.’’

K.R. Balasubramanyam

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