Innovating Global Financial Services
Financial assets owned by individuals in Japan totaled more than $US 10 trillion of which about 60% was in deposits and savings and 20% in insurance related savings vehicles. Only about 2% of all assets were in “investment trusts,” known as mutual funds in the U.S. market.
When commercial banks were given regulatory approval to offer investment trusts, J.P. Morgan and Dai Ichi Kangyo Bank (DKB) , one of Japan’s largest retail banks, saw big opportunity. The two agreed to form a new company, through a joint venture, that would provide this attractive new financial product to consumers.
While investors had traditionally locked up money in savings accounts with very low returns, they were interested in new instruments that provided diversification and better returns. The general consumer, however, had very limited or no investment experience. There was also some skepticism of new products, given recent questionable practices by other financial service firms.
With this new venture, there was a need to develop a brand positioning strategy, new company name, identity system, and marketing plan. A brand strategy that would dictate the degree to which each of the two partners name and identity would be used, was also needed.
Each of the two partners in the joint venture brought substantial advantages. J.P. Morgan had a very prestigious reputation for its world-class investment expertise, service orientation, and integrity.
Dai Ichi Kangyo Bank brought the same service orientation, but with an even greater reputation for caring and friendliness within the Japanese market. DKB even used the term “heartful” to reflect the empathetic attitude of their employees. The bank also had the largest network of retail branch locations in the country.
The brand strategy ultimately created a distinct new name that encompassed elements of each partner, without directly naming the venture after either company. In the unlikely event that the business relationship did not work out and the business dissolved, such a brand strategy was intended to protect the brand equity of each of the two partners.
The brand positioning centered on leveraging the prestigious reputation of J.P. Morgan with the convenience afforded by DKB’s immense branch network.
The positioning and brand architecture strategies formed the foundation for the creation of a new graphic identity system, which was applied to everything from stationery applications, print collateral, and Internet applications.