Case Analysis: Bank One: The Uncommon Partnership By Peter L. Phillips & Stephen A. Greyser


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This case chronicles the 30-year evolution of Bank One’s business strategy of growth through acquisition and the resulting branding issues encountered by the need to rebrand the acquired existing entities. Begins in 1968–at the start of the newly formed First Banc Group of Ohio, Inc.–a holding company created by the McCoy family to acquire other small banks in the state of Ohio. The banks were to be renamed “Bank One.” It continues through the next 30 years of growth, marketing innovations, and expansion to many states beyond its Ohio base. This period of growth and change produced numerous challenges to the company’s identity. The principal focus of the case is on the major branding obstacles associated with Bank One’s merger with First Chicago NBD, a very large commercial bank. First Chicago NBD represented the first major commercial bank to become a member of the Bank One family of dominantly retail banks. Issues encompass whether the First Chicago NBD name should be changed to Bank One, as had been done for all previous retail bank acquisitions over the years or retain its name using only the endorsement, “A Bank One Company.” Further complicating the situation is a major Bank One brand development initiative intended to implement the Bank One brand identity in new ways for all Bank One entities.


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