RBS in agency talks to help brands stand out

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to enter talks with consumer agencies to help differentiate its main brands in the increasingly cluttered personal finance market.

It is understood that the brief will span creative work across five key brands:

RBS, NatWest, The One Account, First Active and Mint credit card.

The group is looking for an agency to devise high-profile campaigns to differentiate its products from  new and established rivals.

It has been criticised by brokers for not better defining its brands to the market.

RBS brought in Lansons Communications to replace Freud Communications on its One Account mortgage brand earlier this year (PRWeek, 10 February), on which it is believed to have briefed the agency to help tackle the mortgage dominance of rival HBOS.

RBS declined to comment on the pitch or on Lansons’ position, but it is understood the agency’s current brief will not be directly affected. The majority of RBS’s PR is presently handled in-house, a spokeswoman said.

A new agency is likely to be on board by early August, with pitches for the business to take place throughout July.

The UK credit-card market has around 1,500 products offered by more than 50 issuers, and brand differentiation is a big factor in winning customers. The Mint card, with its distinctive rounded corner, launched in 2004 and was, in effect, a rebrand of the RBS Advanta card.

The One Account pioneered ‘offset mortgages’ in 1997. RBS also sells mortgages under the NatWest, First Active and RBS brands.

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