Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen has settled on a new name to unite all its products under a single brand, Abrdn.
The company said that its new name would still be pronounced “Aberdeen”, but that the rebrand will make it modern and agile.
It did not explain further why it decided that removing the Es from Aberdeen would achieve these goals, and the move received some mockery online.
According to a video posted on the company’s Twitter account, the A in Abrdn has been taken from “Standard Life” not from “Aberdeen”.
Today we’ve announced our change of name to Abrdn, part of a modern, digitally-enabled brand we’ll use across our businesses globally. Capital at risk. https://t.co/D5YUZx3RPO pic.twitter.com/kOw5NQVH7j— abrdn plc (@abrdn_plc) April 26, 2021
“Our new brand Abrdn builds on our heritage and is modern, dynamic and, most importantly, engaging for all of our client and customer channels,” said chief executive Stephen Bird.
It is an issue that has been at the forefront of Mr Bird’s mind since he took over the top job last year.
Shortly after taking charge he told the Mail on Sunday that “confused branding” was one of the company’s weaknesses.
“We have six brand names and six websites. So we’re going to fix that,” he said.
Since then the six have been slashed to five, after it sold off one of the brands.
A full stakeholder engagement plan is promised and don’t be surprised if stakeholders ask for some vowels please, CarolAJ Bell financial analyst Laith Khalaf
After revealing that all remaining brands will be re-named to Abrdn, Mr Bird said: “It is a highly-differentiated brand that will create unity across the business, replacing five different brand names that have each been operating independently.
“Our new name reflects the clarity of focus that the leadership team are bringing to the business as we seek to deliver sustainable growth.”
Reaction to the announcement on social media was mixed, with one user asking “Is it April 1st again?”
Another labelled the rebrand “Irritable Vowel Syndrome” and the question “What do you have against vowels?” was also posed.
Comparisons were made with TV quiz Only Connect’s missing vowels round, while Scottish singer Steve Byrne tweeted: “I give it six months. I’m from Arbrth after all.”
I give it six months. I'm from Arbrth after all. https://t.co/7VCkjVjigX— Steve Byrne (@byrnesong) April 26, 2021
The rebranding will start to roll out over the summer and progress through 2021, the company said.
There will also be a “full stakeholder engagement plan to manage the transition”.
The business was formed in 2017 when Standard Life merged with Aberdeen Asset Management.
But profit has fallen and Mr Bird has said that the business has not proven to be greater than the sum of its parts.
“Standard Life Aberdeen needed to sort out its branding, but the new Abrdn name will likely leave investors feeling dazed and confused,” said AJ Bell financial analyst Laith Khalaf.
“Investors need simple fund names that are recognisable amongst the thousands of investments out there, and having a brand name you can actually say, even if it’s only in your head, is a big help.
He added: “While the Abrdn brand might be specifically designed for the digital world, it looks far from ideal for the real one.
“A full stakeholder engagement plan is promised and don’t be surprised if stakeholders ask for some vowels please, Carol.”