A Discussion on Digital Media & Communication Trends
Never has the changing Charlotte landscape been more noticeable. The 2nd largest banking city in the country has been refaced with red and gold. Last week all of the Wachovia signs were removed and replaced with the very bright red and gold of Wells Fargo.
This poses a question for me. Is Charlotte under an identity crisis? I never realized how the calm of Wachovia’s blue and green so highlighted our cities personality. A combination of First Union and Wachovia, both North Carolina based banks; there was a rich heritage that existed that is now lacking. Not to seem melodramatic, but I feel lost. Just walk in Uptown Charlotte any day or night and the whole area has a different feel. Wells Fargo’s yellow and red clash with the beautiful architectures and intermingle with Bank of America’s red and blue. I even have to do a double take when I approach and ATM.
I don’t think I am alone in this feeling. Many people have commented that they are leaving Wells Fargo, or that they hate the “new” brand. Interestingly, most of the naysayers are local to the area.
In reflecting on these issues as a Wells Fargo customer, it makes me wonder if they did their crisis due diligence. Did they think about corporate social responsibility and how these changes would impact the Charlotte community?
Corporate social responsibility states that citizens of a community expect four key things from the companies that share their space:
Wells Fargo spent two years transitioning the brand. They slowly transitioned the name by adding a division of under the original logo. Additionally, Charlotte was the last market they transitioned. Finally, they over communicated that the change was occurring to all customers. However, I think they underestimated the graphical power that a brand possesses and what those symbols mean to people in a city or region.
I don’t think there was a good way to change the logo and brand elements. Perhaps Wells Fargo recognized that it was impossible to retain the level of corporate social responsibility Charlotte was accustomed to from Wachovia. Charlotteans would naturally feel a sense of loss. Wachovia was a major company; an entity intertwined into the fabric of Charlotte’s society. Therefore, transitioning slowing could have been Well’s way of losing the least (‘Learning to Lose the Least’ – Important, But Difficult Lesson for Organizations). My only question is did they even think about how the brand changes would impact the city and did they strategically review the potential for crisis?
Have you thought about how graphics or logo changes could affect your society, employees, or other external stakeholders? Comments always appreciated!
*Corporate social responsibility information taken from an interview with Dr. John McArthur in October of 2011.
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