City & Gild: Time to get back on track

Andrew Mulholland
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So, as I was dozing-off watching another lack-lustre F1 race this past weekend (Bernie is right, it’s missing the awe and thunder), I was briefly awakened by the exchange between Red Bull’s lead driver – Sebastian Vettel, and his team.

For those of you who were also asleep, the world champion was asked to let his teammate pass, and responded with a curt ‘tough’.

Now I personally admire Vettel’s driving skills - when he’s leading from the front - but his petulant manner (he has previous) rather cuts against Red Bull’s claim to stimulate body & mind, and takes the edge off the professional image chief Christian Horner and his team are trying to portray. Which is a shame, because there are many hundreds of dedicated men and women who devote their lives to helping Vettel become World Champion.

The poor people at the Co-op Bank must also feel the same. The bad news just keeps on coming, it’s not enough they have announced a loss of £1.4bn – contributing to the worst set of results in the group's history, but now Paul Flowers has been charged with drug offences that would make the Rolling Stones blush (cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, anybody?).

The thing is, whilst it’s tempting to point the finger and breathe a sigh of relief, effectively proclaiming it’s not us (we’re far too professional to let that happen aren’t we?), the problem is, from a brand perspective, none of this is good news.

The City has had a reputational bruising (even though the Co-op is hardly a traditional City institution), and putting the collective house in order is a huge undertaking. To the lay consumer, another headline about a bank making huge losses with ‘fat-cats’ miss-behaving, tarnishes the whole sector; they don’t understand (far less care) it’s only one, fairly unique, company (or person). As with Vettel and his team, they find it hard to differentiate between the two, and therefore it does no-one any favours.

As I’ve said before here, we should all hope the Co-op’s problems are resolved, and quickly, although I can’t help thinking Horner might have the easier task.