Several days ago I remarked in a blog post entitled “Brand vs Bland” how I thought UPS had fashioned a great brand based upon the concept of “logistics”, and how they now “own” that term.
Thinking a little further about their turn-around from “What can Brown do for You?”, it occurred to me that if you’re going to be logistic, there’s no better color for you than brown. Logistics is no-nonsense. Logistics comes from the military, and at least the US Army still wears brown. Brown is a “working” color.
According to those who study color psychology, brown denotes honesty, modesty and reliability.
So all along UPS had picked the right color, and I’m glad they ignored me and other critics for making such a big deal of their corporate color in the previous (still innocuous) What can Brown do for You? campaign.
The UPS as the logistics brand is, indeed fully integrated. There are no disconnects to turn prospects into scoffers.
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.
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.
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.