Signaling an intensified effort to build its brand name, Banc One Corp. has hired a senior First Union Corp. executive as director of marketing.
Brad Iverson has been senior vice president in the marketing department at Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union.
He will start work at Banc One on Aug. 25, said a spokeswoman for the Columbus, Ohio-based company, and report to Kenneth Stevens, chairman and chief executive of retail banking.'
Mr. Stevens, a former Pepsico executive, has spent the last year focusing on consumer strategies with an emphasis on the brand. He announced Mr. Iverson's appointment last week in a memo to Banc One's staff.
The retail group has been restructured since the spring. Two hundred of the 1,500 branches have been closed and replaced with automated centers.
Mr. Iverson's job will be like the one Craig Kelly had held as director of corporate marketing-a title that no longer exists. Mr. Kelly left in March to become group executive vice president of strategic marketing at Crestar Financial Corp. in Richmond, Va. Some observers said Mr. Iverson's departure could be seen as a loss for First Union. Just this spring he kicked off a high-profile advertising campaign aimed at building a consistent image throughout the company's expanding multistate territory.
The move is a win for Banc One, these observers said. It wants Mr. Iverson to work on a national brand strategy for its array of consumer products.
Mr. Iverson was unavailable for comment because he was moving to Ohio with his family, the Banc One spokeswoman said.
Brand building is "his area of expertise," said Brannon Cashion, director of the financial industry group at Addison Whitney Inc., a Charlotte-based consulting firm that specializes in corporate identity campaigns.
Like Citicorp, First Union, and Cleveland-based KeyCorp, Banc One has become a leader among banks in the branding and image-building movement, consultants and analysts said.
"They are consistent throughout the organization in the way they talk about themselves," said Mr. Cashion. "A lot of firms struggle with that, but these banks have really taken the bull by the horns."
Analysts said having a strong brand is going to be more important as banks spread their retail wings nationally.
"If you're going to move into a community where you're not known locally, you're going to have to spend money to develop an image there," said Richard X. Bove, an analyst at Raymond James Associates. "These banks have to distinguish themselves, and they have to have a consumer approach to the market."