Unbound Edition. Meaningful conversations about brand, from Davis Brand Capital.



Verizon Shows Its True Colors

And it’s not a debate about orange or blue…

And it’s not a debate about orange or blue…

The brand experts who continue to debate the AT&T/Cingular brand should turn their attention to Verizon. Truly, how important is the name or logo of these companies, when one of the leading providers continues to stand out for all the wrong reasons?

Brands serve as shortcuts for the consumer. Over time, the brand should communicate a core meaning, or positioning, to the consumer. This meaning is based on the product and operations of the company, not the color of the logo. For companies to continue to grow and remain profitable, their positioning must remain relevant to their customers. As we all know, relevancy is the key to marketplace success.

This week Verizon made a decision that moves it closer to an irrelevant brand position…one that will force it to compete on price alone. Verizon decided to be the only wireless carrier to disallow NARAL from carrying its messages over its network. While NARAL certainly is a divisive organization, the messages were to be delivered only to those consumers who chose to receive them.

After marketplace pressure, Verizon quickly reversed its decision. So while they ultimately listened to the market, their first decision makes it clear that they are suffering from marketing myopia. Sure, as the owners of a wireless network, they have the right to decide who uses it and which messages are distributed.

Yet, as Verizon continues to broadcast creative content and sponsorship messages, they have joined the media industry. Americans have very specific expectations for members of our media culture, and censorship is not one of them.

So, while AT&T/Cingular now has exclusive rights to one of the hottest new technologies on the market, the iPhone, and seems to be embracing its role as a media provider, Verizon is still asking, “Can you hear me now?”

Yes, Verizon, we hear you…loud and clear.

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