Co-operative Bank brand perception sinks

Perception of the Co-operative Bank brand has plummeted since suggestions its mounting debts mean it might have to accept state aid.

Coop Bank

Ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the bank’s debt rating last week and suggested the Co-op might need “external support” from taxpayers after expressing doubts it can manage future losses.

The Co-operative Bank said in a statement in response that the sale of its life and general insurance business as well as positive perception of the Co-op brand will help pull it through.

However, YouGov BrandIndex rating scores show the brand’s Buzz score – a net balance of the positive and negative things people hear about a brand – has slumped to -60.2 (13 May), a 54 point drop from the -4.2 registered a week earlier (6 May) and an even steeper dip from the positive 12.2 enjoyed at the beginning of the month (1 May).

Its Index score – which takes into account how consumers rate the brand in terms of impression, quality, value, reputation, satisfaction and whether they would recommend it – fell to 32.4 from 56 a week earlier.

Despite the figures, a spokeswoman for the bank says it has seen “very limited customer reaction” to the Moody’s downgrade so far. She adds it will continue to engage with customers through “usual channels”.

The bank has been trying to reassure customers by tweeting customers that it is “business as usual” and encouraging them to call its service line with any further questions.

Viewpoint

russell profile

The causes of the Co-operative Bank’s financial difficulties are not the same as those that would have finished off Northern Rock and RBS but for state aid but the potential consequences arguably are.

The suggestion the bank could require a bail-out could leave an indelible stain on the brand if not handled carefully.

The Co-op has had considerable success with its ethical and community focussed positioning, which has led to a lofty position in the affections of consumers, particularly since the 2008 financial crisis and scandals such as the LIBOR rate-rigging that have beset the sector.

Even if a taxpayer bailout is avoided and it is spared the images of customers anxiously queuing around the block to withdraw savings that killed Northern Rock, work is still needed.

Reassurance it is business as usual is, of course, necessary in the short-term. So is reaffirming its approach to banking, once its reported £1bn capital hole is filled.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here