Makeover will take Bank of Scotland back to its roots
THE Bank of Scotland is remodelling its branches in a return to a more conservative image in an attempt to "re-assert its traditional values".
The bank, which was taken over by Lloyds Banking Group in 2009, aims to have all 300 of its branches refurbished by the end of the autumn.
It will also drop the "H" of its old HBOS name and remove all signs of the more garish trappings of its Yorkshire-based corporate mate, the Halifax.
Replacing such supermarket-style posters trumpeting special offers will be sober blue trimmings, beige wood and a more low-key tone.
Peter Navin, Scotland network director at Lloyds, said the makeover would reassert the Scottish part of the bank's identity, and "put more Scotland into Bank of Scotland".
He added: "We want the Bank of Scotland brand to come across more in its own right.
"There is a latent pride among communities about the brand. Clearly the industry has been through a torrid time, we all know that. We want to recapture that pride, as people do want to be proud of those organisations where there is a long history."
Archie Kane, Lloyds Group executive director for Scotland, denied it was a wholesale rethink of the bank's image.
"This is not about re-inventing the Bank of Scotland brand but allowing our customers to re-discover it," he said. "We have conducted extensive customer research and know that the Bank of Scotland brand has a strong place in the hearts of Scots."
The changes are the most public manifestation of Lloyds' attempts to rebuild the bank under its own auspices.
They form part of a wider campaign, which features on all media including TV, outdoor, press, radio, online and in all Bank of Scotland branches across Scotland, aimed at persuading customers that the bank had returned to the traditional values of "relationship banking", "customer empathy" and "expertise".
Lloyds Banking Group also announced that Bank of Scotland has become an Official Partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Scotland.
Susanna Freedman, managing director of Tsuko, an Edinburgh branding agency, said that while the bank's move to its pre-Halifax image was "appropriate", it would only work if matched with a fundamental change in how it did business.
"Brand perception is built on the totality of experience with a product or service, communication, environment and behaviours," she said.
"I think it is a much deeper exercise to demonstrate to the public that attitudinally this institution is changing. Now, more than ever, intelligent consumers are looking for real and demonstrable value. As long as this is not a cosmetic makeover, and its is intrinsic to all other customer touch points with the brand, Bank of Scotland might just convince us that we want our high street branches banks to feel like a traditional bank and not a supermarket.
"If it does that, and does it consistently and with integrity, it may well gain competitive advantage as a result."
The change is also understood to be part of Lloyds' move to secure its market share at a time when it is being forced to divest itself of all its Scottish Lloyds TSB branches, as well as a large part of its Cheltenham & Gloucester building society network by November 2013.
The sell-offs were demanded by European bank regulators as part of the conditions set down for the government-brokered creation of the Lloyds Banking Group in January 2009.
Bank of Scotland will also be linking up with another Lloyds partner, Scottish Widows, to sell a wider range of pensions, investments and long-term savings products.
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