Naming ‘anxiety’ for NYSE Euronext Deutsche Börse
My, my. Who would have thought that a few little letters could nearly spark an international crisis? What do they really stand for? Which order should they be in?
The merger/ acquisition of NYSE Euronext with Deutsche Börse has created a whole heap of trouble for the architects of the deal – to create the world’s biggest stock exchange – and demonstrates the power of names. At the time of going to print, the companies would not (could not) say what the name of the new entity would be. This is primarily because everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to influence the outcome (and there’s some big players pulling the strings).
What’s the problem, why can’t they sort it out?
So many issues. Loss of identity. Flag waving. Change. Emasculation. Status. Job losses. Essentially, it all comes down to which brand is the most important?
Here we have a ‘national’ symbol, NYSE (New York Stock Exchange – this is Wall Street) being absorbed by a German business (owners of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange). Actually NYSE is less a national symbol than “a brand of symbolic importance”- the symbol of capitalism.
This hard-won deal has caused a raft of insecurity in both countries. Emotions are running high. For the Germans – “it will be a matter of time before the Americans take control”. For the Americans – “Europeans running the show?” One blogger refers to Deutsche Börse as ‘the Borg’, swallowing up and assimilating everything in their path.
In the States there have been threats of a “flight of wealth” (that’s a shed-load of money running off to be spent elsewhere) if the company chooses a “non-Anglophone” solution, like Deutsche-NYSE. The obvious solution might seem to stick to initials – DB-NYSE, hardly a non-Anglo solution. However the company has pulled back, even from that.
All of this storm is a manipulation of the merger by external players who are using every tactic – emotional, financial and political blackmail – to get their way. NYSE is “the preeminent brand” which “must not suffer in the merger”. It would seem that insecurity, a lack of faith in the financial establishment, is behind the jingoism. Some sensible soul pointed out that each local market is to keep its name, but that isn’t enough, the name of the holding company is the prize because it shows who the most important partner is. This is a merger between equals, except that one of them needs to be more equal than the other (there’s that capitalism thing again).
Who’ll win the argument? Certainly not the company, it has already given up the right to decide what’s best for itself. The deal moved too quickly for them to plan a big fanfare and be able to put their case for the transition in pragmatic, cool, unemotional language. They can never win because they will never please everybody in this mess. Everyone will see the result as a compromise and that means that no one will be happy with the result. So much for a happy partnership – the wedding’s hardly over and the honeymoon will have to be postponed.
A great example of the huge importance of names and increasing complexity in choosing the right one.
In: Brand communications, Corporate Identity, Naming, Viewpoints · Tags: Brand identity, Financial Services, mergers