UBS: The Worst Brand Performance In 2009

Citigroup may seem like the most beaten down brand name in finance.

But it is not.

The honour belongs to UBS. According to Interbrand’s Best Global Brands, the Swiss bank’s “brand value” — a measure of brand revenue, brand earnings and some squishier calculation of “brand strength”—has fallen 50%. That’s not only more than any other financial company. It’s more than any other brand in the Best Global Brands Index.

The blow to the UBS brand—partly fallout from the financial crisis, partly from the tax dodge scandal—may make UBS reverse course on its half-decade long attempt to foster trust though the “U and Us” campaign.

In 2000, UBS paid billions to acquire Paine Webber. Initially, they called the combined company “UBS PaineWebber.” In 2003, they dropped Paine Webber altogether in favour of “UBS Wealth Management USA.” (Similarly, Credit Suisse dropped First Boston, going from CSFB to just CS.)

Now the word is that they may revive Paine Webber. Bob McCann—the leading candidate to lead UBS’s brokerage—wants to go back to Paine Webber, according to people familiar with the matter.

BrandChannel describes why UBS may need the name change:

The Best Global Brands report observes that UBS has not invested in supporting its brand, and that “trust and attachment is consequently lower than ever.” It counts UBS and Citi among “The Fallen,” concluding, “Even if UBS manages to regain stability, it will have a difficult time rebuilding trust in the brand.”

Citi, by the way, isn’t far behind UBS. It’s “brand value” has fallen 49%.

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