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Brand vs Bland

May 20th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Branding can be game-changing for a corporation.

Several years ago I bashed UPS for their “What Can Brown Do for You?” campaign. I thought it was vacuous and certainly did not position UPS in the field of FedEx and DHL. What’s more, just like the color, the slogan and the idea behind it were bland. Except for voicing the color there was no differentiation, no relevancy, no idea expressed.
UPS logo

But how things have changed at UPS. Their current campaign, “It’s Logistics” is 100-percent better and on target. They have found a differentiator, a word upon which they are positioning themselves as more than a fast, reliable delivery service. I’d go so far as to say this was the absolute best branding strategy exhibited this past year.

The idea that UPS now owns the word “logistics”, and that it is a function admired and wished to be attained by the corporate world, makes their messaging most compelling to their markets. I’ll bet they’ve found the board room doors open to UPS reps since the campaign began.

UPS is growing strong

But like all great branding victories, I’ll bet this one began by UPS looking at their business – their corporate aspirations, their strengths, their assets and their culture – and developing a strategic plan to make logistics an overriding feature of their services. If need be, they changed the way they were delivering their services (both literally and figuratively). Only then would UPS enjoy the benefit of messaging about their differentiator.

Substance, not sizzle. Relevancy not ruffles.

That’s branding based on corporate strategy and corporate willingness to be customer oriented. It’s what makes brands strong and long lived.

Tags: Branding · Positioning

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben Turner // May 28, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Nice case study well related to the importance of coherent different levels of branding too

  • 2 Fully integrated brand, including the color, for UPS | // Jun 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

    […] Brand vs Bland […]

  • 3 Saumitra Singh // Jan 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Pliny The Elder once said, “Human nature craves novelty.”
    What would be for UPS, is it “UPS nature craves Logistics” or ” UPS nature craves Delivery” or What else???
    Well no doubt “It’s Logistics” is bang on the target.

  • 4 Dan S. // Sep 5, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I agree. I much prefer the logistics branding them. It is simple and effective. After all, the whole of UPS revolves around the term and it really gives them ownership of the word.

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