Thursday, February 01, 2007

Big Branding Boo-Boo

The Branding of Cingular. Originally, Cingular was a joint venture of SBC and BellSouth. Cingular won the bidding war for the original AT&T Wireless -- and spent almost $1B on the name change (and branding change) to wipe ATTW out of mind and replace it with Cingular (in the mind of the consumer). Then, SBC buys AT&T. The combined entity decides to use the better known brand (AT&T) -- and spends $1B to wipe out the SBC brand (as well as associated brands like SNET, Ameritech, and PacBell).

Then in 2007, Ma Bell is back together with the recent approval for SBC to buy BellSouth. The new at&t will spend another $1.6B branding BellSouth as at&t and Cingular as at&t. That's right! A huge reversal - and double the spending. But, hey, what's a $1B for a $184B company?

Let's look at this: SBC spent a billion to wipe out the AT&T Wireless brand - only to turn around 3 or so years later to revive the brand. DOH!!! As a shareholder I am pissed! Meanwhile, the new at&t has to mindwipe the BellSouth brand -- a brand since pre-1984. See?! Not even Ed Whitacre understands Branding. He should call Jack Trout. (Colbert explains the history of the at&t brand.)

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