Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fifth Third's Fractional Logo

Fifth Third Bank has announced it is updating its logo. Thank goodness it appears to be more than a visual change. The bank's news release mentions the visual aspects of the brand change LAST in the release, and focuses up top on the most important aspects of any brand--what the bank is promising and what it will DO.

When it gets to visuals, there will be a color change and a new swooshy thingie (my words). But here, the release explains it well:

"The new identity symbolizes a horizon, with an update of the distinctive Fifth Third shield serving as a foundation for the visual."

The release was written by a Cincinnati based PR person who is APR, and it shows. The PR/branding savvy is most evident in the explanation of fundamental PR activities associated with this brand change:

  • They did research;
  • They clearly respond to that research by offering customers more long-term service, connecting short-term banking needs and decisions with long-term impact on a customer's life;
  • The brand slogan "promises for a better tomorrow" is not just a clever phrase, but based on research and what president Kevin Kabat calls human values;
  • The brand shows indications that it will be lived by employees, and not just be mumbo jumbo handed down by management.

    I love the quote from Larry S. Magnesen, chief marketing officer: “In many ways, our 22,000 employees and six million customers helped to create this new brand.” That should always be the case.

    My only complaint is the name. Fifth Third? I know it has tradition, but when they bought Old Kent I was troubled by the new name. Banks are funny that way. They tend to like numbers in their names. But Fifth Third is an odd fraction. At least it amounts to more than one, so it was better than say, Bank One. But then they were bought by Chase, which means they can't be number one anymore, because they name implies they are chasing someone. Fifth Third can't decide if it's fifth or third. Then again, maybe Old Kent wasn't so hot. Sounds like a guy on a park bench. So maybe Fifth Third works. Or maybe, part of the "better tomorrow" they promise will include a better name.

    Skip Lorimer said...

    Having worked on numerous bank marketing campaigns over the years, I laughed when I heard they were spending my money (since I'm a customer) on updating the logo and such. You're right, "Fifth Third" is a horrible name. It reminds me of my kid's math problems. And yes, "Old Kent" was worse.

    Tim Penning, APR said...

    Thanks for chiming in, Skip. Glad it's not only me.