Commerzbank Blends Brands Following Merger

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“A strong company
needs a strong brand.”
— Commerzbank

When the third-largest bank in Germany merged with the second-largest, it left a big question: What to do about the brands? Easy. Pair the logo from one with the name and color of the other, and…whammy! You have a new brand that, well, actually works pretty well.

The new logo consists of three key elements: the “Commerzbank” name, the color yellow, and the three-dimensional Dresdner ribbon.

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BLENDING BRANDS
The new logo is a hybrid of traits from the original two.

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DUE DILIGENCE
Even though the bank decided to retain one of the two logos almost entirely intact, it still went through the design process to see what other symbols might result from merging the styles of each.

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FINAL NEW LOGO

The only new aspect to the logo is the typeface. Commerzbank says its new logotype is “clear and confident,” while expressing “stability and quality,” while its yellow color is “vibrant and full of energy, emphasizing our self-assurance and performance.”

Commerzbank says its new, intertwined mobius logo represents “growing together.” The new icon symbolizes a connection between “customers, employees and investors,” while reflecting brand attributes like “dynamics, continuity and stability.”

Commerzbank is so proud of its new brand that it produced a 3-minute video about the “making of” its new logo.


THE MAKING OF THE COMMERZBANK/DRESDNER LOGO
In this video, you can see the bank polled its people to see which logo embodied the qualities they sought to project in the new, combined brand — dynamics, continuity and stability. Even though the video is narrated in German, you’ll be able to keep up.

About the rebranding, Martin Blessing, Chairman/Commerzbank, says it was important to balance brand changes with heritage and stability. “A new bank has to set new signals visible from the outside,” he said.

For Commerzbank, that means keeping components from both organizations. “It was important to us that all customers continue to recognize their bank in the new bank,” Blessing explained. “That will allow us to take advantage of the strengths of both brands.”

“Our new brand is designed to give Commerzbank a modern and dynamic image, underline our high standards in all areas, and serve as an expression of our identity,” the bank says on its website. “A strong brand symbolizes reliability and quality and thus helps build trust among customers.”

Analysis: Mergers always seem to trigger difficult, often painful, questions. “Who will be president?” “Who’s name will be retained?” Compromises are struck, if for no other reason than to keep the merger moving forward. Many times, these compromises come at the expense of one (or both) brands. This is not one of those times. The new Commerzbank logo achieves the bank’s strategic objectives without creating a mishmash, Frankenstein identity. Even though most of the bank’s customers will probably never know the rationale underlying the logo’s design, they are likely to see the logo as “sunny” and “solid.”

Commerzbank also used the merger to roll out a new slogan (something they refer to as a “brand promise”): “Achieving more together.”

“The brand promise stands for the core values we would like to be measured by — partnership and performance,” Blessing said.

Commerzbank says its new slogan has multiple audiences. “’Achieving more together’ applies to each and every one of us: externally, together with customers and business partners, and internally, together with colleagues.”

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On its website, Commerzbank details its brand strategy with remarkable transparency — something that is as refreshing as it is rare in the financial industry. In the strategy, Commerzbank says its “brand position” is based on these two principles:

  • “Partnership means that we take care of you as customers. We want our business relationship to be based on an equal footing and find the solution that is best for you. We do everything we can to help you achieve your goals. From an internal perspective, partnership also means that, as employees, we work as one — as a strong, united and target-oriented team.”
  • “Performance means that we lead you on the path to success with strength and experience. Today we are already one of the top banks in Germany and unite the strengths of two successful institutions. Thanks to our size, we are always close to our customers, combining international expertise with local roots. Our competencies coupled with our powers of innovation mean that we can accommodate your specific needs and develop solutions that are tailored tor you. This makes us a high-performance partner.”

Ulrich Sieber, HR/Commerzbank, admitted that not everything has gone perfectly, but Commerzbank continues to monitor its merger progress by engaging customers.

“We regularly ask our customers how they feel about the integration process,” said Sieber. “Many clients would like to see the branch offices integrated more quickly, a wish we take very seriously. We have therefore moved the branch integration forward by six months.”

All branches will be operating under the new Commerzbank brand by the second quarter in 2010.

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