Abbey becomes Santander – but how do the staff feel?

I still remember how aggrieved a friend was when ‘Abbey National’ became ‘Abbey‘. She didn’t feel that a girl’s name was appropriate for an august building society. I haven’t asked her yet about the latest news – that Abbey is to become ‘Santander‘, reflecting its Spanish ownership – but I doubt she will be impressed. If a customer is annoyed, how will an employee feel when their place of work is rebranded?

For many people, it’s about more than just a name. It’s about the identity and the ethos of the organisation. And if a company has spent years building up a brand and a culture, what happens when it suddenly disappears, or is swamped by another, stronger, identity? Abbey has been subsumed by a brand that while well known overseas, has little profile here – so how will staff react? There’s the potential impact on recruitment, too – regardless of the economic situation, applicants will be looking for a strong employer brand.