Tangerine Still A Question Mark

[Cache – #153]



In so many words, this has been the typical reaction to Tangerine, the new name for ING Direct.  I submit, however, that it’s unfair to judge a brand name in a vacuum.  We have to wait – to see what meaning its owner has in mind for it.

Tangerine is of course a carrying forward of brand equity from ING Direct’s shade of orange – made famous by a long-running ad campaign with that Dutch guy.

A quick visit to the Tangerine homepage makes clear that the new moniker is meant to embody and convey, in their words, “simple products [and] award-winning client service [to help] Canadians grow their savings and live better lives.”  And also:  “We believe your money should be able to work as hard as you do.”

On the basis of this espoused positioning, I think the name makes alot of sense.  Tangerine indeed conveys informality and a certain down-to-earth-ness that aligns well with people who are just trying to live a bit better, not make millions.

It is hard to imagine a name that would be more memorable for this particular brand, coming as it does from a brand associated so strongly with orange – and in large part because it so strongly piques curiosity. 

But:  just as it’s been said that a brand ain’t a logo, neither is it a name.  So the true test of name greatness is:  how well does the organization actually deliver on what the name promises?  

Answer:  so far, not so good.

In fact I cannot easily recall an online banking experience more inconvenient than the one I’m having with Tangerine right now.  A valued client, who is a Tangerine customer, sent me an online transfer of funds through the Tangerine system.  It arrived in the form of an email, which requires the recipient to click through to the Tangerine website.  Fair enough.  

But once at the website, instead of simply clicking through to the bank I use (BMO), logging in to my account and then depositing the cash with a few clicks, Tangerine actually wants me to:

  • Go grab one of my cheques – the ones I use from BMO
  • Look at its hieroglyphic print and figure out what my bank’s branch number is
  • Look at its hieroglyphic print and figure out what my bank’s institution number is
  • Enter my account number
  • Re-enter my account number
  • Wait one to two business days – but maybe longer

Naturally the numbers on my cheques don’t correspond with the image provided by Tangerine, so I couldn’t figure out how to accept the money.

For any bank brand, this process – and especially the (indeterminate) waiting period – is about as non-simple as it gets.  Anyone who has received an Interac email transfer knows you can deposit the money instantly to your account, simply by logging in to it.  One also has to wonder how much Tangerine is making on my money while I am trying to get it, especially in light of their promise not “to nickel and dime you with unfair fees.”

So:  the Tangerine name has great promise, but it is not yet a great name.  Someday, hopefully.

Ditto for the tagline, Forward banking, which currently seems stuck in reverse.

Previous posts about Tangerine:
Lululemon May Be BS, Tangerine May Be A Peach
Introducing Oaken Financial

IN THE MEDIA:  Andris Pone comment on the Super Bowl, WestJet, Tim Hortons, Lululemon, Indigo and more.

BOOK:  Buy the #1 Globe and Mail bestselling Brand: It Ain’t the Logo or download a free chapter.

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