UBS: The Worst Brand Performance In 2009

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Sep 23, 2009 7:58 pm

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

But it is not.

The honor 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 favor 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%.

Sep 23, 2009 8:10 pm

Help me with the math.  Say the brand is worth $100 at t=0yrs (for the engineers).  At t=2yrs the brand is woth -$200.  The brand has declined by how much?

  $100 -(-$200) = $300.  Then divide by the original $100.  My math says the brand declined by 3...or 300%.  Show me your math.   Finally!  I get to use my CFA!*     *NOVA doesn't really have a CFA because he can't pass level 2.
Sep 23, 2009 9:40 pm

thats a pretty poor written article – makes it seem like UBS wealth management america’s is the primary stakeholder of the brand.  In fact the swiss / european operations are far larger in scope and bring in 6b a yr in profits! the article is about “global” brands not US brands. UBS is still the second (used to be first) largest manager of wealth in the entire world. If they bring back Paine Webber it will only be in US. hey do they bring back Swiss Bank Corp, Union Bank, or Warburg over in Europe…

not saying the brand has been absolutely devastated by bad news and actions - just the article is not very well written.

In fact the “brand” in the US is not well known even after 9 yrs, i often have to tell people:

I work for UBS   who? the former Paine Webber — Oh…

Sep 24, 2009 5:14 pm

Kudos UBS, you just ranked BELOW Citi… ouch:)