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AT&T Makes Plans to Re-Brand BellSouth and Cingular


07/08/2006

As AT&T seeks to improve its enhance and expand its wireless coverage, while breaking into the television market, and offering competitively priced bundled services, the U.S. telephone giant is counting on the strength of its century-old brand name to appeal to customers old and new.

After it completes its merger with BellSouth Corp. (probably by the end of this year), the company will re-brand all of its services, including Cingular Wireless, under the AT&T name, in an effort to promote the message of unity and reliability.

The BellSouth and Cingular names are just not at the iconic level globally, explained AT&T`s VP of advertising, Wendy Clark. When you have an integrated solution, the nomenclature of wireless and wireline will become blurred to the point where you need a single brand. It`s about one-stop shopping.

It is possible, however, that re-branding Cingular as AT&T Wireless could dampen the company`s appeal with younger users. Many analysts question whether the telecom giant should abandon a brand that has been promoted so heavily, and at such great expense, over the past several years.

ATT was built a long time before Cingular, SBC or BellSouth, noted Tom Holownia of Blended Thinking, a branding consultancy. You got the baby boomers who grew up with AT&T (but) the younger generation doesn`t even know about the brand so you get to start all over with them.

This is little question that a completely new branding strategy will carry with it an element of risk. The move is obviously intended to create a sense of reliability and constancy that traces its roots back to the late nineteenth century. But abandoning a young, fresh, and innovative brand like Cingular Wireless might be taking things a step too far.



 

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