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The case is about the corporate rebranding of the erstwhile UTI Bank, a leading private sector bank in India,

to Axis Bank. It discusses the circumstances which led to the decision of the bank to forego its well known brand name that ranked among the top 50 brands in India, in favor of a new name. The case further discusses how the company arrived at the new name, and how the company launched a mass media campaign to communicate the new corporate identity. The simple but high-decibel integrated marketing communication campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather, sought to reassure the bank's customers that nothing had really changed in the bank except its name. And the customers could expect the same level of service from the bank as earlier. In addition to this, the bank also had to prevent its customers from falling victim to phishers who could take the advantage of any confusion arising out of the rebranding. Issues: Understand the issues and challenges in rebranding a well established brand, especially in the banking sector in India. Understand the issues that led to the decision of UTI Bank to rebrand as Axis Bank. Understand the rationale behind the marketing communication campaign and how the campaign was executed by the ad agency.

UTI Bank by any Other Name... On July 30, 2007, 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' brand4 name for free till January 31, 2008 - but beyond this date, it would have to pay royalty for use of the name. Moreover, rebranding itself also gave it the opportunity to have a brand of its own. This, it felt, would go a long way in resolving the brand confusion that was created by several shareholder-unrelated entities using the UTI brand. The name 'Axis' sounded contemporary

and had an appeal that could transcend geographical boundaries. This was important for the bank as it planned to make a serious foray into the global market in the future. In addition to changing its name, the bank also changed its logo. The bank hired Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) to design and implement the rebranding campaign. The simple but high-decibel integrated marketing communication campaign sought to reassure the bank's customers that nothing had really changed in the bank except its name. And the customers could expect the same level of service from the bank as earlier. Uti Bank by any Other Name...Contd... The campaign that built on the theme of identical twins to put forward this message was launched in multiple media channels including television (TV), radio, print, Internet and outdoor media. The bank also leveraged on its 2,500-odd ATM locations spread across the country to communicate the change in name. In addition to the integrated marketing campaign, the bank communicated the change in name to its customers personally well in advance. To prevent its customers from falling victim to phishers5who could take the advantage of any confusion arising out of the rebranding, the bank cautioned them against responding to any email claiming to come from the bank, that asked for personal/account details of the customers. Industry watchers said that, though there were instances of banks rebranding following a merger and acquisition (M&A) deal, this was the first instance where a bank was voluntarily rebranding itself by going in for a new name and shedding a well-recognized brand. They noted that the company was spending a huge amount of money on the rebranding exercise - more than three times its marketing expenditure in 2006. Some of them felt that by going in for the new brand name the company would lose the quasi-governmental connotation that came with the UTI brand... Background Note The UTI Bank was one of the first private sector banks which were set up after the reforms in the banking sector in India (Refer to Exhibit I for a brief note on reforms in the Indian banking sector).

It was set up with a capital of Rs. 1.15 billion, with Unit Trust of India (UTI) contributing Rs. 1 billion, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) contributing Rs. 75 million and General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) and its four subsidiaries contributing Rs. 15 million each (Refer to Exhibit II for the shareholding pattern)... Need for Change in Name On April 30, 2007, UTI Bank announced that the bank's board of directors had approved a proposal to change its name to Axis Bank. Nayak explained, "The name has been chosen because it is simple and crisp, transcends geographical boundaries as we seek to become a multinational bank, and connotes stability and solidity... Rebranding to Axis Bank On July 30, 2007, UTI Bank rebranded itself as Axis Bank after obtaining the approval from its board, shareholders and the Reserve Bank of India. It also obtained a new certificate of incorporation from The Registrar of Companies. The management of the bank said that the new name Axis meant 'a line of reference around which all else is measured, or as a line of stability around which the planets and spheres rotate'... The Media Campaign On August 1, 2007, the bank started an integrated marketing campaign titled 'UTI Bank is now Axis Bank; Everything is the same except the name'. Sumanto Chattopadhyay (Chattopadhyay), Group Creative Director, O&M, said, "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... Preventing its Customers from Becoming Victims of Fraud In addition to reassuring the customers that they would be offered the same level of service and professional expertise from the bank, the bank also clearly communicated to the customers that: "We will not ask for any account details due to the name change to Axis Bank. Do not respond to any such request received through email. Please

contact your nearest branch in case you receive any such request."... Potential Benefits of the Change in Corporate Identity Though the change in the name of the bank was necessitated due to pressure on the bank to arrive at a decision because of the deadline on the UTI brand name, the company seemed pleased to be developing its own brand. The company felt that adopting the new name would bring definite advantages as the earlier name had a public sector connotation. The UTI Bank had always been a private bank since its inception but it was thought of as a public sector bank linked with the UTI brand... Outlook The new Axis Bank was in a sound financial position and had a good portfolio. It had grand plans for the future too. Having raised Rs. 4.5 billion in 2007, Axis Bank would be able to start on a sound footing. The bank said that it would continue its focus on commercial banking and would also bolster its asset management business. The company planned to open branches in 450 out of the 600 districts in India by 2010...