Somewhere, deep in the bowels of the Delta corporate headquarters, someone is working on “branding” the “new” Northwest-Delta Airline. But it may take up to three years to wipe out the Northwest Airlines name, and even longer to integrate cultures. A pilot friend told me today that there’s still angst at the soon-to-be-former Northwest that stems from the different cultures of Northwest Orient and Republic airlines.
In the end, though, it’s all about the perception — the message — that a Delta name (as opposed to an NWA name) gives to fliers.
I talked this afternoon with Barbara Schenck, an expert on branding, and the author of Small Business Marketing for Dummies, Business Plans Kit for Dummies, and Branding for Dummies, about the marketing challenges companies face when merging.
Here’s the full interview (mp3). How does Delta keep whatever favorable message the Northwest brand brings while wiping out the Northwest logo and identity? (Listen) Is there a lot at stake to wipe out the Northwest name as quickly as possible? Yes. (Listen) The logo is the face of the brand. The brand is the promise that lives in a consumer’s mind. (Listen) The message of the airline doesn’t matter as much as what the consumer experiences. Take American Airlines, for example. (Listen)
I’ll add the Cliff Notes versions over the next few minutes.
About the blogger
Bob Collins has been with Minnesota Public Radio since 1992, emigrating to Minnesota from Massachusetts. He was senior editor of news in the ’90s, ran MPR’s political unit, created the MPR News regional website, invented the popular Select A Candidate, started the two most popular blogs in the history of MPR and every day laments that his Minnesota Fantasy Legislature project never caught on.