approach to its new corporate identity.

FleetBoston Financial Corp. is the new official name for the $185 billion-asset banking company that was created in this month's merger of Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston Corp. The corporate name, however, is distinguished from two "master" brand names -- Fleet, to be used in the United States, and BankBoston, for the Latin America market.

Employees were told about the changes Monday at a rally and flag-raising ceremony outside corporate headquarters in Boston's financial district. The new logo also combines elements of the two predecessor companies: a green eagle, taken from BankBoston, and a blue swoosh, taken from Fleet.

Anne Finucane, executive vice president for marketing and communications, compared the banking company's branding strategy to those used at Eastman Kodak Co. and Walt Disney Co. Each of those companies operates under an official corporate name and a distinct master brand, Kodak and Disney.

Both Fleet and BankBoston were in the midst of branding and advertising campaigns at the time the deal was announced. Fleet's larger geographic reach on the East Coast meant it had established greater name recognition, Ms. Finucane said.

"We were mindful of the heritage of BankBoston, but we went with the brand that would play the most effectively," Ms. Finucane said. BankBoston, on the other hand, has more than 80 years of experience in Latin America, while Fleet had none.

Bank and branding consultants have been split over whether it is better to manage a single brand identity or to pursue multiple brands.

Citigroup Inc., the nation's largest banking company created in last year's combination of Citicorp and Travelers Group, supports a myriad of brand names under its corporate umbrella. On the other hand, companies such as Chase Manhattan Corp., the three-year-old combination of Chase and Chemical Banking Corp., have chosen to stick with one name.

A spokesman for the former BankBoston said employees at that company recognized the emergence of Fleet as the dominant U.S. brand as all but inevitable. "Fleet was the larger company doing business in a broader region," said Bruce Spitzer, the spokesman. "Given that they were in New York and New Jersey and we were not, it may have been time for a different moniker."

FleetBoston's major subsidiaries -- the Portland, Ore.-based asset management firm Columbia Management Co., the New York-based brokerage Quick & Reilly Group, and the San Francisco-based investment bank Robertson Stephens & Co. -- will keep those separate identities with a kicker proclaiming them FleetBoston Financial companies.

Branch signs will not change until after the planned divestiture of more than 300 branches to Wyomissing, Pa.-based Sovereign Bancorp and other Massachusetts and Connecticut community banks, Ms Finucane said.

That will not happen until late in the first quarter.

The branding campaign has been under development since late spring.

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