Absa was ranked as the country’s top brand in the South African banking market for the sixth consecutive time in the Business to Consumer category of the Sunday Times Top Brands survey.
Whilst this may be largely seen as good news for Absa which has been pummeled by a barrage of bad news in the past few months it also underscores the challenge faced by Absa’s parent company Barclays. That is if, the UK based Barclays is entertaining the idea of remaking Absa into its own image. There has been much speculation that the UK banking giant will move to rebrand Absa into Barclays after acquiring control about five years ago.
The Absa brand did take some beating from the handling of a work force rationalization process which unions termed retrenchment by stealth. Recently the troubles of Barclays around accusations of Libor manipulation have spilled over into the Absa brand. Absa CEO Maria Ramos has had to field hard questions around the Libor matter and general business ethics of the parent company. Given this background the Barclays may have to think twice if it was planning to replace the Absa brand with the Barclays brand.
Commenting on the Sunday Times Top Brands award, Absa head of marketing Sizakele Marutlulle said “This bears testimony to the commitment of every colleague whose efforts collectively form our impressive brand”.
Conducted by TNS Research Surveys in association with the Sunday Times, the survey examines how current and prospective clients perceive brands in various sectors. The opinions of 3 500 consumers from all walks of life were polled in the survey, which assessed respondents’ views on brand familiarity, brand presence or size, and user brand rating for each category.
“We are all aware of the tough economic and competitive environment in which we operate so when we are recognised in a survey such as this, which is based on the value, trust and preference of consumers, we are all the more honoured. This shows that even when the going gets tough, our clients know that we are on their side and vote for us with their hearts and minds,” says Ms Marutlulle.
Look out for the quirky Absa advertising campaign on selected television channels, this weekend’s Sunday Times, billboards and digital media.
Bobby Malabie, Absa Chief Executive for Retail and Business Banking, welcomed Absa’s top banking brand win. “Our recently launched products and services – Value Bundles and Transact – signify Absa’s commitment to make banking better for our customers and this award proves we are on the right track.”
Value Bundles is Absa’s new transactional offering targeted at the core middle market and retail affluent segments that have more sophisticated transactional banking needs.