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Today sees the relaunch of the TSB brand on the British high-street. For many it represents feelings of nostalgia and happy long forgotten youth. For others, still reeling from the economic hardship of recent years, it's simply another bank promising the earth yet skeptically inviting the question, 'can it deliver?'

Lots To Live Up To

And in today's service economy where brands are built through experience, delivery is all. 

One can't deny the beauty of the launch film, entitled 'Our Story.' The animation has been meticulously crafted and artfully staged. The words insightfully copy written to pull the heart strings. 

But the promise is enormous. Phrases such as 'real and lasting value,' representing the 'dignity of ordinary working people,' and 'serve the community with the people's interests at it's heart,' are earnestly narrated. And that's before we even get to the bank's slogan, 'welcome back to local banking.'

It's a lot to live up to and without the customer experience to live up to it, TSB is likely to fall flat and add to the cynicism of an already disappointed public. 

And a quick look at the launch proposition indicates nothing to suggest that TSB is any more local than any of the other high street banks. The same old service proposition without genuine differentiation, innovation or value. 

'Local banking' should be about community but there are no specifics about philanthropy, CSR or how profits will be reinvested for customers and the collective good. 

'Local banking' should be about knowledge and understanding, but will my bank manager really know my name? And that begs a deeper question - would I even want him to? Surely it's better that a bank gets the basics right without trying to assume I want a chummy relationship.

'Local banking' should be about customers and communities having a say in how the bank is run, so what about having customer representatives on the board of directors to shape how business decisions are taken?

These are just some starters for 10. My hope is that in the coming months TSB will live up to its promise. But boy, has it set itself a tough target to reach.

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