When Capital One acquired ING Direct (INGD), the opportunity was great … and so was the obligation. ING Direct was not a typical business, nor was it a typical brand. The brand’s success was the result of intentionally differentiating itself as much as possible from the way other financial institutions presented themselves.
And, as relatively iconoclastic as Capital One was as compared to old-line financial institutions, it might as well have been The First National Bank of Suspicion as far as INGD customers were concerned.
Internally, there was considerable concern that INGD customers would balk at the conversion to Capital One, and go find themselves another online bank.
So, as vital as the rebranding was, getting the communications strategy and timing right was just as important. The best creative in the world would be wasted if the strategy was not on target. So that’s exactly where we started – and ended with a 4-stage graphic and messaging transition that unfolded over the course of a year.
It started with outreach communications that highlighted the additional benefits customers would receive as a result of the partnership. These communications carried heavy INGD branding, with a very light sign-off of Capital One branding. This conveyed the important message that this was not a “takeover” but rather a partnership.
In the second phase, we proactively told customers the reasons for and benefits of the integration. As before, these communications were branded primarily as INGD communications … since at this point, that’s whose customers they were.
Now, about that name …
There are some really good naming agencies out there. But for whatever reason, they weren’t hitting the mark, and here’s why I think that happened: Most of the options they presented were meant to evoke the “quirkiness” they believed had always characterized INGD.
But my opinion was always that it wasn’t the quirk that attracted and kept customers. It was the single-minded focus on doing everything possible to help people save their money.
So an off-the-wall, whacky name that said “look at me” was off-brand. That’s why I sent the agencies back to the drawing board, again and again until a resource on my internal team finally hit on the right combination of name, color and logo.
When it was all said and done, we had converted over 10,000 brand assets. Everything from Pinterest Boards to Billboards. From debit cards to coffee cups. Here are a few of my favorites.