As banking goes on-line, bankers may view product identification as a more crucial component of their business than ever before.

With customer service available over the Internet and conventional banking growing ever more product oriented, many consumers may soon associate their banking with a name-brand tool, rather than with the bank that provides them with account data.

To avert such a scenario, banks are beginning to build stronger brand identities through individual products and services. First Union Corp.'s service-marking of Cyberbanking is just the tip of the iceberg.

"It's not out of the question that you could corner the home banking market with a product that sounds whimsical, not like going to the dentist," according to Douglas Peklo, a branding consultant for Woods & Associates.

Mr. Peklo's experience with branding - he has helped name products like Prozac and Prodigy - tells him that consumers are beginning to differentiate the wide array of available banking options the way they might cameras or tissues, opting for recognizable brands like Kodak or Kleenex over other makes.

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