Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2003 (Revised April 2005)

Branding Citigroup's Consumer Business

by Rohit Deshpande and Carin-Isabel Knoop

Abstract

In Spring 1998, Citicorp and Travelers merged to create a financial powerhouse that united the bank with Travelers' consumer finance and brokerage businesses, including Salomon Smith Barney and Primerica. It was the first U.S. financial services company to combine banking, insurance, and investments under one umbrella. Both entities historically had very different cultures, driving a radically different approach to branding. During completion of the merger, a team of managers was responsible for recommending to top management a new brand identity that would unite the entire organization and provide it with a strategic focus. The new brand also had to inform customers and shareholders of Citigroup's new financial capabilities and allow cross-selling without sacrificing the power of component brands. In a tense post-merger situation, decisions must be made early and decisively to prevent damaging brand equity.

Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Customer Focus and Relationships; Customer Relationship Management; Decisions; Asset Management; Investment Banking; Management Teams; Brands and Branding; Relationships; Business and Shareholder Relations; Banking Industry; United States;

Citation:

Deshpande, Rohit, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "Branding Citigroup's Consumer Business." Harvard Business School Case 504-023, July 2003. (Revised April 2005.)