Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Northern Bank to be rebranded by owners Danske Bank

How a new Danske banknote would look like if Liam Neeson replaced JB Dunlop

After years trying to convince the rest of the UK that Northern Bank notes are legal tender, just imagine what a barmaid in Birmingham, or a taxi driver in Glasgow, will say when you hand them a shiny new Danske Bank note.

After 203 years, the Northern Bank as we know it will be no more.

Having started off in 1809 as Belfast-based Northern Banking Partnership, the Northern Bank is being rebranded by current owners Danske Bank.

Who replaces engineering geniuses Harry Ferguson, John Dunlop and Sir James Martin on our cash is yet to be revealed, but perhaps Liam Neeson, or Rory McIlroy’s Danish love interest Caroline Wozniacki, could be in the running.

In the meantime, Northern Bank notes will remain in circulation, but following talks with the Bank of England they will eventually be phased out.

Bank bosses are prepared for the challenges the rebranding will bring and are equipped to deal with major issues, as their response to the UK’s biggest bank heists revealed. In 2004 £26.2m was stolen from its Belfast headquarters, leading to more than £240m in old notes being taken out of circulation.

Hopefully the new Danske banknotes will be nothing like the plastic offerings from Northern Bank when it was owned by the National Australia Bank. While they were a godsend to surfers out in Oz, they were not quite embraced by the great Ulster public.

Tony Axon, media director at Belfast-based Navigator Blue, told the Belfast Telegraph, rebranding and renaming is one of the greatest marketing challenges. He said it requires very sensitive handling but can also often be the first vital step on the road to greater success.

“There needs to be clear strategic and tactical reasons for embarking on such a journey where each step must embrace and bring along existing customers and all stakeholders involved,” Mr Axon said. “It is a journey that you are taking customers and potential customers on, and all the sensitive issues involved must be considered.”

He added: “Exiting brand relationships need to be protected and strengthened and new ones need nurtured, but it can be done with great success if you have the know-how and the changing brand experience.

“Relationships with brands, especially in the financial sector, tend to be very deep and there is usually a lot of loyalty to be tapped into. And, of course, there is also the opportunity to attract and build new relationships. It’s one of the biggest steps any brand can take, but also a great positive opportunity.”

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