Bye Bye Cingular, AT&T Name Taking Over Monday: Cool Traded In for Stuffy

AT&T won’t say how much the rebranding will cost but claims it will benefit from having one name on all its services. But is it worth it? The company will have to change signs in around 2,000 stores. And let’s not forget the cost of letterhead and employee uniforms. Though perhaps the most difficult cost to calculate: young consumers who like the hip feel of Cingular over the stuffy AT&T brand of yesteryear.

The fact that Apple was releasing its iPhone with Cingular seemed cool, but an AT&T iPhone? The first thought that comes to mind is “let’s hope it works right and customer service isn’t a pain.” I know, I know, the companies have been working together for awhile and not much should be changing. It’s an on-the-surface thing that is mostly perception.

At least AT&T is aware of the new problem it is causing itself in exchange for some savings on operating expenses from a consolidated name:

“AT&T is not trying to go back to being the old AT&T,” explains Karen Jennings, a senior VP for AT&T. “We know we have to freshen up our brand attributes.”

Cingular is/was the largest wireless company in the U.S. by subscribers with nearly 60 million customers. And AT&T will not be using the name “AT&T Wireless” but is going with “Wireless from AT&T” likely to avoid the negative connotation associated with AT&T Wireless due to service problems in the past.

Starting Monday, you’ll be seeing AT&T TV commercials that will try and convince you that Cingular doesn’t exist any more. One commercial reportedly will have the Cingular logo morph into the AT&T logo.

Powerful brand image vs. consolidated name savings, and AT&T chose the latter. Good luck with that, AT&T.

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