‘Another consonant please!’: Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen is mocked on social media for changing its name to ‘ABRDN’ to be ‘more modern, dynamic and engaging’

  • Edinburgh-based financial giant announced eye-opening rebrand this morning
  • Chief exec Stephen Bird says ‘Abrdn’ will engage both clients and customers 
  • Twitter users were left laughing as the new name will be pronounced ‘Aberdeen’ 
  • The shock move follows the sale of the company’s Standard Life tag this year

An Edinburgh-based asset management company has faced ridicule online this morning after announcing plans to change its name to ‘Abrdn’ in a bid to update the brand.

Financial giant Standard Life Aberdeen declared its new name, which will be pronounced ‘Aberdeen’, will help shore up and modernise its brand identity.

In a press release today, chief executive Stephen Bird said: ‘Our new brand Abrdn builds on our heritage and is modern, dynamic and, most importantly, engaging for all of our client and customer channels.

‘It is a highly-differentiated brand that will create unity across the business, replacing five different brand names that have each been operating independently.

‘Our new name reflects the clarity of focus that the leadership team are bringing to the business as we seek to deliver sustainable growth.’ 

Standard Life Aberdeen has been mocked by hundreds of social media users this morning after it announced plans to formally change its name to ‘Abrdn’

Bird, who joined the company last year, added that the Abrdn rebranding process will begin later this summer, with the aim of creating a ‘digitally-enabled brand that will also be used for all the company’s client-facing businesses globally’.

But the move has been met with criticism across social media, with hundreds of users questioning the rebrand. 

Social media users were quick to point out some side-splitting shortcomings with the ‘ABRDN’ rebrand. While this user compared it to Countdown, others asked if the marketing department got ‘bored’ or had made a ‘meaningless typo’

The move has been met with widespread criticism across social media, with hundreds of users questioning the rebrand

Standard Life Aberdeen declared its new name, which will be pronounced ‘Aberdeen’, will help shore up and modernise its brand identity

Weird: As ‘Abrdn’ trended on Twitter this morning, many social media users were left scratching their heads over the planned rebrand

When company name changes went wrong – and right 

  • Royal Mail shared its new company name and brand ‘Consignia’ in 2001.
  • The rebrand cost the company £1.5million, before an embarrassing u-turn saw them spend £1million to revert back to Royal Mail a year later. 
  • But in 2007, broadcaster UKTV oversaw the successful switch of its G2 channel to ‘Dave’, which has been dubbed ‘the home of witty banter’.
  • The company decided on the name Dave because according to them: ‘Everyone knows a bloke called Dave’.

 On Twitter, one user compared Standard Life’s disemvoweling process to asking Countdown host Rachel Riley for consonants on the popular game show.

Others suggested that the marketing department was ‘getting bored’ or that they may have made a ‘meaningless typo.’

And Twitter user @Solomonsifa added: ‘At least some things are being named for what they are… a burden.’

A spokeswoman for the firm said the name change will enable the company to own digital assets such as apps and websites, without confusion with the city of Aberdeen. 

The controversial new name follows the company’s sale of its Standard Life brand to life insurer Phoenix earlier this year.   

The Phoenix deal came after Edinburgh-headquartered Standard Life merged with Aberdeen-based Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017.

Phoenix took on the Standard Life brand in February and sold back some of the businesses it bought from SLA in 2018, as the pair simplified their partnership.

Share prices of Standard Life Aberdeen were up by 0.7 per cent at the start of trading on Monday.

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