BB&T, SunTrust hire consulting firm to develop new brand

Register now

BB&T and SunTrust Banks are a step closer to having a new brand.

The banks have hired the consultancy Interbrand to develop a new name, branding and logo for their soon-to-be merged company. Interbrand, a New York unit of Omnicom Group, will provide research, brand positioning and naming services as part of the process, the companies said Wednesday.

The new branding will “harness the heritage of both banks and articulate the new company’s identity as an innovator that will redefine its category,” Interbrand New York CEO Daniel Binns said in an email.

Employees from each bank's marketing, digital and client experience divisions will participate in the process.

Picking a new name will be tricky, according to branding experts, especially since the combination has been billed as a merger of equals. The name is also likely to be used for various sports facilities, such as the Atlanta Braves’ stadium, currently known as SunTrust Park, and the Charlotte Knights' minor league baseball stadium, BB&T Ballpark.

BB&T and SunTrust said they plan to emphasize their digital capabilities in the new name and brand.

“The merger of equals gives us a unique opportunity to create a bold, new brand that is born in the digital age with the scale to transform the client experience,” Susan Somersille Johnson, SunTrust's chief marketing officer, said in an email.

The banks expect to unveil the new name this summer, according to an Interbrand spokeswoman. BB&T's shareholders must approve the new name at a special meeting, yet to be scheduled, where they will also vote on the merger. Financial terms of the banks' agreement with Interbrand were not disclosed.

Interbrand has developed branding and marketing campaigns for other financial services companies, including Santander Bank and Synchrony Financial. The agency also developed the branding for Bank of New York when the company bought Mellon Financial in 2007.

Interbrand is also known for its yearly Best Global Brands rankings, which identifies the world’s 100 most valuable brands.

(In the 2018 ranking, Interbrand estimated that the American Express brand was worth $19 billion and that JPMorgan Chase's was worth $18 billion.)

When the banks close their $28.2 billion merger in the third or fourth quarter, they will move the headquarters to Charlotte, N.C. The combined bank, with about $440 billion in assets, will likely be the nation's sixth-largest retail bank.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.