Virgin to Rock
The UK government's backing of Virgin Money to buy Northern Rock carries with it the potential for a much needed shake-up in the marketing of financial services.
Financial services firms these days focus on vague promises of "living richly" (as Citibank promised in its recent campaign in the US) or are reduced to competing on price through more competitive rates and free checking. A few, such as Commerce Bank, have been able to rise through the clutter by focusing on convenience and the Walmart-adapted strategy of simply greeting customers when they come through the door. These companies may know banking but, especially during this time of sub-prime turmoil, their brands are being hammered by bad publicity.
Enter Virgin which knows a thing or two about marketing and seems to have no fear about entering competitive and seemingly commoditized markets (witness Virgin America). Such markets are ripe with opportunity for a firm that focuses on creating unique value and marketing it effectively. Should be interesting to see whether Virgin can rock the market.
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