How an online community helped Santander Bank build its brand

Stephen Whiteside

Santander is a banking giant, with more than 14,000 branches and 100 million customers globally. But despite the company's enormous scale, the success of its fledgling US business may well depend on the views of a few hundred web users spread across the country.

Although Santander acquired Sovereign Bank, which runs 700 branches in ten (mainly Northeastern) states, in 2009, the Spanish enterprise only officially launched its brand in America on October 17, 2013 – an effort supported, among other things, by a multimedia marketing campaign, a million square inches of carpet and 32,000 gallons of red paint.

The core contributors to the gap between purchase and brand roll out included:

  • returning its newest asset to profitability;
  • installing an IT system to connect its branches together;
  • improving the inherited ATM network;
  • refitting stores;
  • introducing a new website;
  • building social-media capabilities;
  • securing the buy-in of some 9,000 employees.