Mellon Financial Corp. has quietly started reminding customers of its well-known subsidiaries that at bottom they are all parts of Mellon.
Pittsburgh-based Mellon left the old names on many of the companies it acquired in recent years of aggressive buying - among them Dreyfus Corp., Boston Company Asset Management, Laurel Capital Advisors, Certus Asset Advisors, Franklin Portfolio Associates, and Buck Consultants Inc., the human resources consulting firm.
The plan now is not to rename them, but to make clear - in brochures, advertisements, customer presentations, stationery, business forms, and Web sites - that they are all parts of Mellon, said James Lauteri, the banking company's brand marketing manager.
Mellon has always made its ownership of these units clear in fine print, Mr. Lauteri said. But now television ads for Dreyfus, for example, refer to it as a Mellon subsidiary.
Making the connection more prominent could strengthen the individual brands and help in cross-selling efforts, Mr. Lauteri said.
The challenge for Mellon is a familiar one as financial services firms expand their business lines. Citigroup Inc., for example, is determining how to portray its various asset management businesses.
Stewart A. Rose, president of moneyfitness.com, a Web-based start-up that helps financial services companies with distribution, said it makes sense for Mellon to "use the [corporate] umbrella, as needed" to emphasize financial strength.
Norman Lubin, chief executive of FMS Consulting in Bluebell, Pa., agreed. It demonstrates "there's a comprehensive Mellon solution as opposed to a bunch of individual companies that are not integrated," he said.
Of course, Mellon has put its name on some acquired companies. On Tuesday, for example, Newton Asset Management Ltd., its London-based asset management unit, became Mellon Newton Asset Management Ltd. everywhere except in the United Kingdom, where the Newton name is stronger.
The banking company's non-U.S. asset management unit also has adopted the Mellon brand. Overseas, Mellon is a stronger brand than Dreyfus, which Mellon uses for its retail asset management business in the United States, said Ronald O'Hanley, president of Mellon's institutional and international asset management businesses.
At yearend Dreyfus Global Investments, the non-U.S. asset management unit, was renamed Mellon Global Investments. Since 1997 the company has tripled its overseas assets under management, to $63 billion, a spokeswoman said.
Alan Siegel, chairman and chief executive of Siegelgale, a New York branding firm, said Mellon may be moving toward eventually eliminating the various brands, much as American Express Co. did.
But Mr. Lauteri said this not the case. The various brands "have high value in their marketplaces, and there's no desire to change that," he said.