Back in February, Wauwatosa Savings invited its customers to help pick a new name for the bank. Customers had the until the end of the month to choose between three semi-finalists provided by the bank’s management: ‘Granite Bank,’ ‘WaterStone Bank’ and ‘Security First Bank.’
Linguistically speaking, the WaterStone name is strong. The “water” aspect of the name connotes “flowing abundance” and themes of nature. “Stone” suggests strength and stability. These are very positive associations in the financial services sector.
Combining the words “water” and “stone” into one word is cool, but the capital “S” in “stone” is a bit gimmicky. No biggie though. Everyone has to do what they need to differentiate. Right?
Especially when there’s three other ‘Waterstones’ already registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in Class 36 (for financial services). One company is in capital management, one in consulting, and a third providing benefit administration:
- Will any of the existing ‘Waterstones’ with federally protected trademarks challenge the new Waterstone?
- The ‘WaterStone’ in Wauwatosa hasn’t applied for trademark protection yet, but if it does, will it trigger some sort of alarm with the other ‘Waterstones’ already on record with the USPTO?
- How would the USPTO and courts respond to a trademark challenge, especially considering the USPTO has already granted three separate registered trademarks to companies in the same industry?
Bottom Line: All risks aside, the selection of the ‘WaterStone’ name makes sense for Wauwatosa.
First of all, Wauwatosa Savings recently acquired a mortgage company with the Waterstone name, so they have some history (and legitimate claim) connected to the name.
Second, the customers made the right choice (I’m assuming the vote was fair, and the results can be inspected by customers). The other two name options were troublesome. ‘Security First’ is just plain bland, and ‘Granite’ does the same things as ‘WaterStone’ but without the “water” aspect of the name. ‘Granite’ also carries significant trademark risks.
At its website, the bank had yet to announce the winners of their naming contest. But standby, there’s a fair chance that they probably will.
Along with the new WaterStone name comes the tagline “It’s all here for you,” supporting the bank’s rebranding as a full service financial service provider in its communities.
The bank will officially become WaterStone sometime in mid-2008. According to the bank, they will most likely be changing the name of their holding company too.