I am going to do something I rarely do – defend a big financial institution.
Back in 2012 I criticized the newly formed Mondelez Corporation ($MDLZ) for its poor choice of name. At the time I declared: “American officially ran out of good corporate names.” Then again, things have worked out better for Mondelez than it has for its erstwhile parent, Kraft Foods ($KFT).
This week, the SunTrust and BB&T banks came under a great deal of ridicule for choosing the name Truist Financial for their soon to be combined entity. Not surprisingly the new name came under a great deal of criticism. Maybe the most cogent criticism is that it ignores the brand value inherent in what are two relatively well-respected entities. Frankly, it sounds like the name a startup fintech company would choose, not one for company with some $450 billion in assets.
Of course, the Truist name was created by a big brand consultancy. What did you expect? The merger is essentially one of equals. The new corporate headquarters will not be in either company’s current home town. Of course, they had to choose a fresh name for the newly formed, sixth largest bank in the country.
Here’s the thing. Have you recently tried to buy a domain name? No, not comcastsucks.media, I mean a real URL. One you wouldn’t be embarrassed to send e-mail from.* If you are a half trillion dollar bank, you sure has heck better own the .com URL. truist.com was registered all the way back in 2000 by a non-profit. At one point it was redirecting to thepremierfinancialinstitution.com where you will find information on the SunTrust-BB&T deal.
New unique, domain names that still have a .com URL are really, really rare. No self-respecting bank CEO is going to launch his or her new company with a .io URL. Go to whois.com and see what you can search up. We’re waiting… Chances are the name you picked is taken, or the name you chose sucks. Anyone who has been online for any amount of time likely has a passel of URLs they have registered, but have not yet, more likely never, have put into use. Hello, radicaldiversification.com!
The best thing going for the newly formed Truist Financial is that America has a short memory. Before long, we all will have moved along to the next faux outrage. By then, Truist signs will be adorning bank branches through out the Southeast. Then again, maybe company names don’t matter all that much. Fiverr International Ltd. ($FVRR) went public this week on the NYSE and the company’s shares were up 90% post-IPO. It’s unlikely Truist Financial will see that kind of stock price pop, but then again they have more important things to worry about.
*For now, let’s leave aside the whole issue of all the new extensions, hello .xyz!