Merging United and Continental

By Lippe Taylor / Posted on 06 October 2010

This week the first plane took off from the now merged United and Continental airlines, making this new airline the largest one in the world. It’s been interesting to watch the ups and downs of the airline industry. The start-ups, the failures, the mergers, and the eventual erosion of customer service. It’s just no longer fun to fly, but that’s another story. Witnessing the coming together of these two giant brand names is another chapter in marketing history.

These are giant mega-brands that have policies and frequent flyer programs and infrastructures that now have to be merged. They also have iconic logos that have to be dealt with. What’s a combined brand to do?
There’s no perfect answer — but it looks like the two brands are simply sliding together. The name will be United Airlines, but the logo will look more like Continental. Hmmmm, I’m honestly just not sure. I think I would have preferred to see something more interesting, more evolutionary, perhaps even more innovative — a fresher approach to a revised brand name and identity. But that’s just me.
The funny thing about brand names and logos is that they always seem a little awkward at first, until we get used to them. The more we see them in the marketplace, then the more we get comfortable and then suddenly they lose their awkwardness. They get familiar and start to mean something to us.
Good examples are Tylenol, Verizon, Banana Republic — brands who at first seemed hard to digest but overtime have come to have meaning and now their name/logo fit comfortably in our lives.
I’m sure the same will eventually become true of the United/Continental merger and logo.
What’s your experience? Jim.