"The world's local bank." It's a phrase which instantaneously interlinks itself with HSBC, yet despite the leading lender shaking off this slogan years ago, its powerful message still lingers.
In 2002, HSBC rebranded itself as "the world's local bank", a term which—accompanied with a host of clever and memorable advertising campaigns—propelled HSBC into the international public eye. However years later, the bank felt it could no longer live up to this title.
Like several other leading banks, HSBC was struck by the horrors of the financial crisis and had to find ways of picking itself back up in the aftermath. In 2011 HSBC decided to reshape and refocus how it worked as a business, which involved a string of cost-cutting measures, scaling back retail operations and inevitably, the phasing out its iconic motto.
"The HSBC's brand, particularly 'the world's local bank' and its strapline was an incredibly powerful positioning for us," Chris Clark, HSBC's outgoing global head of marketing, told CNBC's "Marketing.Media.Money".
"(However), the reality of our business is that we have to simplify it, so taking out quite a lot of small countries meant we probably weren't really 'the world's local bank' and actually moving away from it is difficult," he added.
"Obviously there's a management challenge called 'find another one' but it's also difficult to get it out of people's heads – I mean if I had that pen in 'Men in Black' where they take the alien out of your head and do a little 'bzzz', it would be wonderful, but I don't."