For folks who had AT&T for wireless service, they had to make a transition into calling Cingular their new provider. Guess what? In a day of branding and mergers and the like, AT&T is back.
AT&T was a nationwide name associated with communication technology for over a century. While the company is still going strong, its wireless brand merged with the six-year-old Cingular Wireless. Now, Cingular will become known as the iconic AT&T.
A new advertising campaign, or rather a re-branding campaign– will launch Monday to transition the Cingular brand into AT&T. This no doubt will also be a costly endeavor, changing all the signage on company buildings, vehicles and more.
Edward Whitacre, Jr., CEO of the company feels that AT&T is such a recognizable name and marketing all of their companies-AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular as one entity makes sense. He told the AP, “Around the world, our customers recognize the AT&T brand for meaningful innovation, a commitment to customer service, high quality and exceptional reliability.AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular are now one company, and going to market with our services under one brand is the right thing to do.”
Another reason the company is merging their brands is that the lines between wired and wireless are becoming blurred.
Sources say that the AT&T logo will be the prominent one in all advertising and communications, but the ads will initially include a transitional graphic with both the AT&T and Cingular logos. This co-branded elements are to show the association between the two, and to squeeze out what they can from Cingular’s brand equity. So, people can expect to see the “raising the bar” tagline and the orange guy, Jack for a little while longer. In fact, as they build up to the new company, Jack will actually appear to skywrite the AT&T globe that most associate with the company, and then will announce, “Cingular is the new AT&T.”
Rebranding isn’t cheap. As part of the re-branding initiative, there are approximately 2,000 nationwide company-owned Cingular retail outlets and store kiosks that will need to be transitioned. And, there approximately 15,000 personnel in these stores and kiosks who will need new uniforms bearing the AT&T logo.
Also, callers to the company will begin to here “Cingular” replaced by “AT&T.” Stationary also needs to be changed. And, customers will have to remember to make the checks payable to AT&T now.
Co-branding efforts will be used until the company feels that awareness of the merge are at high levels. At that point, they will make the legal name change.
The company says that BellSouth and Cingular will be phased out. Then, rather than three separate ad campaigns, there will just be one.
AT&T is not disclosing the amount of the brand-transition campaign or media buy.