Goldman Sachs: Redefining a brand

December 22, 2008

Traditional funding methods within the financial industry have become less reliable, or dried up altogether. Companies like Goldman Sachs are redefining who they are and what they do. Goldman Sachs just recently evolved into a bank holding company. Now they are continuing their evolution by contemplating the creation of an online banking operation.

An online bank would provide a strategic staging area for Goldman Sachs to clearly define to all their constituencies what Goldman Sachs has become, and what its plans are for the future. A clear and thoughtfully communicated vision of their rebranding efforts is needed, or Goldman Sachs threatens to alienate not only their potential consumers, but their investors as well.

Will Goldman Sachs utilize their own name for the online bank, or create a separate name? The Goldman Sachs brand has a rich history behind it, just not one aligned with commercial banking. It would be unwise to directly tie an online banking company with the Goldman Sachs corporate brand without repositioning their corporate brand accordingly. If they create a new name, the online bank would be free to brand itself without excessive ties to their heritage.

A third option would be to select a pre-existing brand name, which is no longer active in the current market. Brands can still contain equity even after going out of use. Utilizing a brand name that already has equity built into it would provide the new venture with a jump-start to building up a new online bank. Names like Midlantic Bank or Core States are bank names that still retain brand equity but have disappeared or merged out of existence. These names can be acquired from the current owner. For more information on vintage bank trademark brands visit:

Whatever Goldman Sachs decides on, a decisive brand strategy and implementation will be key in their efforts for restructuring their company. They have made significant progress to adapting from a brokerage to a bank holding company. Creating an online bank is a logical next step.

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