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PROFILE: David Sear - Chief Marketing Officer, Voca

From the outside at least, the offices of Voca, located in the sleepy Chilterns town of Rickmansworth just inside the M25 in Buckinghamshire, do not scream “world-class financial services institution”. But once past the bland-to-the-point of-almost-being-offensive exterior, and the unwelcoming concrete pedestrian staircase access (which would not be out of place in a municipal carpark) a surprising transformation takes place.

The reception is bright, contemporary and welcoming, with Voca's new logo back-lit and glowing prominently and confidently in four-foot letters above the reception desk. Until last year, the company had been more soberly known as BACS – which previously stood for Banks Automated Clearing Services – a name that neatly reflected its ownership by the UK clearing banks, and its responsibility for four billion payments per year in the UK, making it one of the world's leading payment services operations. (See B2BM Nov/Dec 04, page 5.)

On the reception walls hang framed press clippings from trade and national publications regarding the company's respositioning, which began in 2003 with structural and organisational changes and was cemented last October with the launch of the new brand – a significant statement of confidence. In as much as an organisation's lobby can truly reflect its identity, Voca's Rickmansworth reception communicates that it is proud of its new brand, progressive in nature, and keen to demonstrate this to the outside world. But at the same time, does not want to disregard its legacy as a trusted provider of payment services – hence the underwhelming location. This is a difficult balancing act, but one which Voca appears to be achieving.