What's in a Name? Lessons from Three Rebranding Exercises in India

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG184
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2006-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Hindustan Unilever Ltd; Axis Bank; Vodafone Plc.
Industry : Fast Moving Consumer Goods; Banking;
Telecom Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Caselet 2: 'UTI Bank' Rebrands as 'Axis Bank'

"The UTI brand name was given to us by the promoters. The name has grown on us. The change in name is on account of several shareholder-unrelated entities using the UTI brand and the consequent brand confusion. The new name, Axis Bank, will give us a brand of our own."17

- P Jayendra Nayak, Chairman & Managing Director, Axis Bank, in July 2007.

"It's [the change in name] something very serious, something that would give people sleepless nights if there was a hint that it's a takeover or something fundamentally changing. So, we were very sensitive about this and the number one thing we wanted to communicate is encapsulated in the line - that everything is the same except the name."18

- Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Group Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather19, in August 2007.

On July 30, 2007, UTI Bank20, the third largest private sector bank in India, officially changed its name to Axis Bank. The decision to rebrand itself was taken by the bank as it was allowed to use the 'UTI' brand21 name for free till January 31, 2008, beyond which it had to pay royalty for using the name. Moreover, rebranding itself also gave it the opportunity to have a brand of its own, which would go a long way in resolving the brand confusion that was created by several shareholder-unrelated entities using the UTI brand name.

The bank acquired the services of Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) to design and implement the rebranding campaign.

It was reported that the bank expected to spend a whopping Rs. 500 million on the rebranding exercise.22 ...

Caselet 3: The Rebranding of 'Hutch' to 'Vodafone' - Next Page>>

17] Anita Bhoir, "'We Will Soon Foray into Asset Management'," www.business-standard.com, July 31, 2007.

18] Molshree Vaid, "UTI Bank Morphs into Axis Bank," www.moneycontrol.com, August 8, 2007.

19] Ogilvy & Mather is a leading advertising agency of the world. It is owned by the WPP Group and had its international headquarters in New York City, New York, USA.

20] UTI Bank, headquartered in Mumbai, India, was one of the private banks that came into being in 1994 after the introduction of banking reforms by the Government of India. As of July 2007, it was the fifth largest bank in India with total business of Rs. 1,020,000 million and market capitalization of Rs. 218,170 million (Source: Anita Bhoir, "'We Will Soon Foray into Asset Management'," www.business-standard.com, July 31, 2007.).

21] The name, 'UTI Bank' was given to the bank by Unit Trust of India (UTI), a major promoter of the bank. UTI was a financial institution set up as a corporate body under the UTI Act, 1963, with a view to encourage savings and investment. In December 2002, the UTI Act, 1963 was repealed with the passage of Unit Trust of India (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 2002 by the Indian Parliament, paving the way for the split of UTI into two entities, UTI-I and UTI-II with effect from February 1, 2003. In accordance with the Act, the Undertaking specified as UTI-I has been transferred and vested in the Administrator of the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI). The stakes that UTI had in the bank went to SUUTI, whereas most of the businesses of UTI and the UTI brand name went to the UTI-II (or UTI Mutual Fund).

22] "UTI Bank is Rechristened Axis Bank," www.ibef.org, May 1, 2007.


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