FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 28, 2007
Wireless company name change shows importance of 'branding'
Now that students know about a few examples of branding, they can see that marketing approach all around us. Have them flip through any sections of the paper to find advertising images, headlines and slogans that reinforce a brand identity. Which work well and which don't?
Newspapers position themselves to stand out among information and entertainment sources. Challenge students to list three words that describe this paper's marketplace image and then discuss how news coverage, editorials, page design, photos, section names, contests, the web site and the Page One nameplate ("flag") all help shape its brand image.
Some brand images in the paper belong to celebrities. Engage the class' attention by asking for singers, actors, musicians or other pop culture figures with positive and negative "brand identities" -- and the reasons why.
A leading communication company, AT&T, is in the final push of a sweeping identity makeover as it officially changes the name of 1,800 retail stores from Cingular to AT&T. The campaign, using print and TV ads nationwide, is one of the biggest blitzes of this type in marketing history and is an example of something called “re-branding.”
AT&T, with initials dating back to the 19th century birth of the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., has an "old school" image as a business that was around in your great-grandfather's day. Now it wants a single brand name to identify it as a one-stop shop for all kinds of communications and entertainment services, including long-distance and local phone service, wireless, television and high-speed Internet. It’s the only carrier providing service for Apple’s iPhone, which it starts selling in June.
Cingular’s name phase-out began in January after AT&T completed its purchase of that wireless giant. The orange logo and Cingular name will disappear from new devices being sold, as well as from all other uses.
Branding isn’t just a business tool. In signs, posters, bumper sticker, pins and her web site, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton presents her first name in the largest type, suggesting a friendly informality -- an effort at remaking her "brand" image. One of her rivals, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, uses a red, white and blue graphic of the letter “O” as an identity symbol.
Old and new: AT&T was founded in 1885 and was split into regional phone companies by a federal court in 2005 because of monopoly concerns. It’s now the largest U..S. provider of local and long distance phone services, wireless service and DSL Internet access. Cingular was born in 2001 and became the nation's largest wireless provider with 62 million phones.
AT&T says: “AT&T is contemporary and progressive. . . The excitement around the iPhone launch is like nothing any of us have witnessed before.” – Wendy Clark, vice president for advertising
Marketing executive says: “The secret to a great brand is: Stand for something. Defend that turf at all costs. But leave the rest of the territory to someone else. The reason brands fail is that they, like presidential candidates, try to appeal to everyone.” -- David Heitman, president of The Creative Alliance, a branding and public relations firm in Colorado
Front Page Talking Points
is written by
Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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