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Bank of America’s Branding Misstep

As a marketer, we know our organization’s brand is sacred.  For many firms it solely defines their value – Coke is just sugar water without their brand identity.  The Coke brand, according to Interbrand was worth over $66 billion in 2008.  If this is so, why can’t organizations understand how their actions to capitalize on short-term revenue can lead to disastrous results?

So, what does the brand of Bank of America mean to you?  Does it mean “an organization that takes advantage of those who fall on hard times?”  It might now:

Bank of America announced the following today:

The North Carolina-based bank, which has a strong presence in the Chicago area, is bumping its overdraft fee by $4, to $39, on June 5. The new charge is among the highest in the nation.

In addition, the bank is increasing the number of times in a day it can hit customers with that $39 overdraft fee. Bank of America customers will be charged for the first 10 times they overdraw their account in a single day. The previous limit was seven times. That means a customer could be hit with a total of $390 in fees in a day. 

And the reason for this outrageous increase in fees – “Overdraft fees are designed to modify customer behaviors and offset the risks that an overdrawn account pose to a bank, so given the changing economic conditions, those risks have increased,” a B of A spokesman said.

 Yes, the risks have increased – the risk that your customers will quickly move their funds to other banks.  This move is epidemic of organizations who do not consider their brand and the impact it will have on their organization for years to come.

What other branding missteps have you seen?  Let us know your thoughts.

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