UTI Bank to AXIS Bank: A Corporate Rebranding Exercise

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG183
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2006-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Axis Bank
Industry : Banking
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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"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."1

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

"The change of name from UTI Bank to Axis Bank is precisely just a name change. Everything else about the brand remains the same. Axis is a strong name with an international aura to it. It is very much in keeping with UTI's success story in the private banking arena." 2

- Sumanto Chattopadhyay, group creative director, Ogilvy & Mather3, in August 2007.

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.

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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.

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

2] Tasneem Limbdiwala, "UTI Bank to Axis Bank: What's in a Name, Everything!" www.exchange4media.com, August 6, 2007.

3] 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.

4] The name, 'UTI Bank' was given to the bank by Unit Trust of India (UTI), was 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).

 

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