For an advertiser with a pounds 50 million ad budget, NatWest
remains disturbingly synonymous with low brand awareness levels that are
unlikely to improve while it persists with such a large and cumbersome
So it comes as no surprise that the bank should now contemplate
funnelling its entire above- and below-the-line business into a single
On the face of it, the plan is a logical acknowledgment of changing
times and further evidence that major advertisers are turning away from
the a la carte fashion so popular a decade ago.
Time was when the prospect of clients picking the best marketing
specialist - be it for direct marketing or sales promotion - and
managing the communications programme themselves was highly attractive.
It is much less so today as client marketing departments have shrunk and
time is at a premium.
Nevertheless, agency consolidation for organisations like NatWest
involves a delicate balancing act. The bank’s business is highly
devolved with a number of divisions responsible for a range of services
from personal banking to mortgages.
Each division has profit responsibilities and none will want to be
denied the right to choose their own marketing services to help generate
Like many other companies, NatWest must face the tricky job of
reconciling short-term issues with long-term brand building. And, like
other com-panies, NatWest may discover it doesn’t need a single
’do-it-all’ agency. Instead, it may be better served by a trusted brand
guardian with the power to ensure that - even if the work is done by
others - the ads do more than carry the same logo.