When Choosing Between Two Brands, Why Keep The Less Popular One?

from the go-figure dept

The real clincher for AT&T's buyout of BellSouth was its desire to control Cingular, their wireless joint venture. Cingular, you might remember, bought AT&T Wireless back in 2004, and spent a good chunk of change on rebranding efforts to make consumers aware of the change. Given that, it was a little curious to see the news that AT&T plans to quickly phase out the Cingular brand as it seeks to unite all its units, services and products under the AT&T name. But it wasn't just the money that made it strange, it's also the fact that the Cingular brand represents something very different than the staid, old (albeit well-known) AT&T one. Cingular's brand is all about wireless, and represents something much more forward-looking than the old fixed-line mentality AT&T evokes. However, a marketing research firm has added a little more fuel to the fire with a report saying the Cingular brand is much more popular than the AT&T one. Granted, its metrics sound a bit fuzzy, but it reports that AT&T is the least talked about telecom brand, and when it is mentioned, fewer of those mentions are positive than any other telecom brand in the US as well. Things get even stranger when you consider how AT&T said that AT&T Wireless had broken its brand by offering such poor customer service and gaining such a bad reputation. It's hardly clear why AT&T thinks it's got more to gain by consolidating everything under its less popular brand name. While the AT&T brand may have a lot of recognition, the thoughts that follow aren't necessarily good ones.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    techmarketer, 22 Jan 2007 @ 5:19pm

    AT&T is a strong brand

    I think that killing the Cingular brand is a good idea. AT&T is a good brand with a good history and will allow AT&T to centralize its spend on one thing. One thing that stands for something is better than two brands that stand for the same thing. Ries & Trout (see 22 immutable laws of marketing - look it up inthe search engine of your choice - Amazon makes it impossible to link to their reviews....) talk about categories dividing, but in this case I see category replacement. For many people, myself included long distance = cell phone service. Anyhow, I think this is a good move, for what it's worth, although I'll probably not switch from Verizon and Vonage - the former which does in fact deliver good service and the latter which is simply too strong on the low cost side to be tempted to switch. Flame at will.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.