There is no question that the banking industry has experienced the kind of upheaval over the last several years that has profoundly affected all issues surrounding the marketing of financial institutions. Coutts, long known as bankers to the Royal Family, is not only one of the UK's major private banking houses, but it is also the world's 7th oldest bank. Wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), which in turn is majority-owned by an investment arm of the British government, Coutts international subsidiaries were renamed as RBS Coutts Bank in 2008. However, in 2011, RBS Coutts decided to drop the RBS initials from its logo and simply rebrand itself as Coutts, as the firm appears in the UK.
Sarah Wyse as Head of Marketing Strategy was responsible for the thinking behind all of Coutts marketing worldwide-- from the UK to the Middle East, to North and South Asia and Switzerland.
Certainly, the RBS affiliation had its pros and cons. It is one of the world’s biggest banks with the benefits of broad infrastructure, yet it had also been associated with negative press. Nonetheless, the goal of Coutts was to reach consumers in markets where it did not have a strong share of voice in order to grow its non-UK business to roughly 60% of the total in just five years.
Sarah Wyse describes the new values of Coutts throughout the world in language that is not often used by the banking industry: connected, cosmopolitan and human. Her belief is that Coutts’ contemporary principles resonate well with today’s business ethos.
In fact, the move to Coutts proved to revitalize the brand. This success may also be instrumental in a bank marketing trend toward highlighting smaller sub-brands that bring new consumer credibility, rather than focusing on big bank associations. Interestingly, Ms. Wyse also admits that despite the separation of logos, there is now a greater collaborative spirit between the two brands.