Merrill, Citi, AIG: Where Financial Brands Go From Here

Last Updated Apr 20, 2009 1:47 PM EDT

A little over a year ago, the financial names mentioned in the headline above were commonly listed among the top brands in the world.

Now they are worthless, or near so, according to the stock market. And they may not be salvageable, according to Harvard Business School marketing professor John Quelch.

So what do the financial brands of the future look like? What will entice consumers to once again place trust in financial institutions? Opines Quelch:

"Financial brands today must address the most basic of consumer concerns: will my money be safe with this company? So long as they are not triumphalist, large banks like JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo that were less involved in chasing too-good-to-be-true sub-prime returns have a differentiating advantage. But it's hard to rebuild consumer trust based on the fact that as Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan's CEO, has stated: 'We suck less.'"
Read Quelch's post on Harvard Business Publishing, How Financial Brands Should Market In a Recession, to get a better understanding on why it's a great time to be a conservatively run community bank. Or a non-bank looking to get into financial markets. Quelch says Wal Mart and even Google might might move into financial services markets left vulnerable by former industry leaders.
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.