RBC Bank And The Redundant Acronym

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RBC Centura Bank recently announced it is dropping Centura from its name and is now RBC Bank.

This name change brings into a focus an interesting naming phenomenon in the financial industry: redundant acronyms.

Take “ATM Machine” for instance. ATM stands for “automatic teller machine,” so why is there the extra “machine?”

Same thing with “PIN number.”

Then there’s the DHCU Community Credit Union and DFCU Financial Credit Union.

RBC already stands for Royal Bank of Canada, so why is the extra “Bank” needed at the end of the new RBC Bank name? Isn’t it repetitively redundant (to make a point)?

At least they didn’t go with the unsightly word jumble RBC-USA.

In an earlier name change for the bank, back when RBC acquired Centura Bank in 2001, they adopted the predictably safe A+B naming mashup that merging companies are so fond of (think “AOL Time Warner”):

RBC + Centura Bank = RBC Centura Bank

At least back then it made some sense to keep “Bank” at the end of RBC Centura Bank because “Bank” was part of the second bank’s full name.

RBC Name Change Brings New Brand
This most recent name change gave the bank the opportunity to rebrand with a new look and new slogan:

The “Let’s do something giant” tagline is intended to suggest themes such as “partnering together” and “major accomplishments,” but it could also evoke notions of “bigbankness.” The word “giant” is different and unexpected, but it also seems to run counter to today’s prevailing “think-small-and-save” mindset.

The new logo creates an awkward amount of space between the RBC shield and the RBC Bank name. The distance is an uncomfortable divorce, and makes it look like the name is a visual afterthought.

Key Takeways:

  • If you’re going to pursue a name change, it may seem easy to become XYZCU. But this is one of the weaker directions you can choose.
  • You can avoid running into problems with redundant acronyms by never reducing your name to an acronym in the first place.
  • Going with an acronym strips away the uniqueness of your name, leaving you with a cold series of meaningless letters.
  • Using acronyms means the rest of your brand will have to work that much harder to create relevance and meaningful differentiation.

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