An article recently published by The National noted the trend for shorter and more concise brand names – particularly in the rebranding strategies of certain banking giants in the UAE.
The article lists First Gulf Bank, the National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah, and the Noor Islamic Bank as examples of this trend, as they are now known as FGB, RAK Bank and Noor Bank, respectively. The trend does, however, stretch beyond the borders of the UAE, as international firms such as Ernst & Young and Jones Lang LaSalle have also shortened their names to EY and JLL.
Chief marketing and executive director of JLL, Charles Doyle, notes that the change in name is down to the company responding to “globalisation and digitalisation” and the need to modernise in light of these developments. The previous brand names, he states, were old-fashioned and to include the names of a company’s founders in a row is a very Western thing to do. In order to expand into other markets, the company felt the need to adopt a more globally-friendly image.
This also links to the issue of pronunciation; longer brand names can be hard to say correctly in foreign markets, but short acronyms or abbreviated titles can be quite catchy, Doyle notes. Shorter names can also look more appealing and succinct, he adds.
With the rebranding of JLL, the company is now present in 75 markets across the world. Employees of JLL from a number of these markets – including Russia, Spain, Turkey and China – all approved of the name change.
Similarly, FGB now aims to expand its international profile by launching offices in Shanghai, London and Singapore.
Noor Bank made the decision to lose the ‘Islamic’ title from its name in a bid to attract more customers. Hussain Al Qamzi, chief executive at the bank, did reiterate, however, that by dropping the word ‘Islamic’ from the company name it does not mean the bank will be migrating away from traditional Islamic banking, and customers should not be worried about whether the new name will affect the policies of the bank.