Britannia in talks with shops for major drive

The Britannia Building Society is talking to advertising agencies ahead of a major branding campaign - its first in a number of years.

The Britannia Building Society is talking to advertising agencies

ahead of a major branding campaign - its first in a number of years.



The budget for the campaign, which will include a new corporate identity

and a brand repositioning, is expected to increase to between pounds 4

million and pounds 5 million.



The review is being handled by the AAR.



BDH TBWA has handled the account since 1994 and the business was worth

around pounds 2 million last year, according to MMS.



However, most of the work has been below the line and has concentrated

on point-of-sale. Any above-the-line advertising has been confined to

press and promoted the company’s rates and services rather than its

brand.



The brand was given some publicity last year when the building society’s

mutual status came under threat from carpetbagger Michael Hardern, a

freelance butler. The campaign succeeded in preventing the society from

demutualising.



Britannia aims to rekindle brand awareness with a major advertising

campaign and is reviewing its positioning in the market.



A spokeswoman for Britannia said: ’We are conducting a review of our

corporate identity and brand positioning and have invited a few agencies

in to see us. We are drawing up a final list at the moment but we are

not inviting any more agencies on to the list.’



Martin Anderson, managing director of BDH, confirmed that the agency

will be repitching for the account. ’We are seeing them next week when

we will be briefed. We are confident that we can meet that brief,’ he

said.



The change in strategy has come after changes in Britannia’s marketing

department. Alan Long officially moved up from head of product marketing

to head of marketing this month. Long is overseeing the review. He

replaces Julie Grant who has become head of direct channels.



Carlson, which handles Britannia’s direct marketing and customer

retention, is not affected by the review.



Britannia is the third largest mutual building society behind the

Nationwide and Bradford & Bingley, although the latter is losing its

mutual status this year.



Britannia, which has almost 200 branches and 4,000 employees, has

benefited from the recent boom in the housing market.



In the first half of last year, profits before tax rose 15 per cent to

pounds 72.9 million. There was a 47 per cent increase in mortgage

applications.



The company’s full-year results will not be released until the end of

next month.



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