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Branding, Marketing and Product Innovation: The attempts of British Banks to Reach Consumers in the Interwar Period


  • Lucy Newton

    () (Department of Management, University of Reading)


This paper considers the relationships of the ‘Big Five’ British clearing banks with their personal customers in the interwar period. British banks formed a cartel and dominated the market for domestic financial services from the early twentieth century onwards. This cartel, combined with government imposed restrictions upon lending, meant that banks were severely restrained in their ability to offer new products and consequently to distinguish themselves from their competitors. It also meant that consumers had limited choices in terms of financial service providers. In this environment, bank managements had to rely heavily upon building brand image and utilising marketing techniques in order to differentiate themselves and to attract customers. For many bankers such techniques were new and unpopular – they were not used to communicating with their customers. From the perspective of the consumer, the paper aims to examine if the adoption of such marketing, brand building and public relations efforts were successful or not. It draws upon sources from bank archives but also from newspapers and public inquiries in an attempt to gather both the perceptive of banks and of their customers. The paper presents an analysis of personal customers and their relationships with, and views of, British banks in order to build upon the growing literature concerned with corporations and their consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucy Newton, 2008. "Branding, Marketing and Product Innovation: The attempts of British Banks to Reach Consumers in the Interwar Period," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2008-55, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2008-55

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    Cited by:

    1. Hiroki Shin, 2014. "The art of advertising railways: organisation and coordination in Britain's railway marketing, 1860-1910," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(2), pages 187-213, March.

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