BRAND UOB – United Overseas Bank – Catagory Sales leadership Strategy
United Overseas Bank (UOB) is not the No. 1 bank in the world. It is not even No 1 in its home market of Singapore; that place is occupied by DBS Bank. UOB’s Senior Vice President and Regional Head for Credit Cards and Brand Management, he suggested that UOB can differentiate itself by proclaiming its sales leadership in the category of credit cards. With the merger of UOB and OUB in 2001 , the bank consolidated its lead as the No 1 issuer of credit cards in Singapore.
That is actually a powerful differentiator, After all, credit cards are important. Most people have at least one, All corporations are dependent on credit cards because they have executives who travel and they have clients whom they have to entertain, and the majority of these corporate expenses are charged to credit cards for convenience.
How can sales leadership in credit cards be used to take the UOB brand to greater heights? The Halo Effect. Just as the halo created by the red-hot iPod has rubbed off on other Apple products, the halo created by UOB’s No. 1 position in credit cards could do the same. If UOB is the No. 1 Bank For Credit Cards, it must have done something right. If UOB is so successful in credit cards, it is probably a good bank, the customer might reason.
Will UQB use this strategy? Unlikely. Because a bank like UOB has many products and services to offer, it is unlikely to promote its credit cards as a differentiator. There are too many factors and the needs of too many divisions that it has to take into consideration.
However, if UOB were to assert its sales leadership in credit cards, another bank — let’s call it Bank BOO — could still claim leadership by further sub-dividing the category. The way to do this would be to find a particular category of credit card in which UOB did not have leadership. If Bank BOO has sales leadership in a particular sub-category, it could claim to be No. 1 there. For the sake of illustration, let’s say that Bank BOO has sales leadership in credit cards for pilots. Since being a pilot is quite a respectable (and maybe even glamorous) profession and pilots fly all over the world, being the No. 1 credit card among pilots may be quite a good thing. So Bank BOO could claim this as a differentiator, “Bank BOO. The No. 1 Credit Card For High Flyers “ This comes off quite well actually. High flyers in the literal sense refers to the pilots but it could also refer to people who are successful in their careers or businesses.
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