Corporate Mergers – Where Do the Brands Go?

During the previous decade, the travel industry entered a period of Darwinism. Survival of the fittest became the reoccurring theme and that resulted in a number of large mergers. Acquisitions were not frequent due to frozen capital markets in the Great Recession and fear over where the global economy was headed. As the travel industry contracted and new brands emerged where the did the previous ones go? And what exactly happens to brand recognition during the merger?

Airline mergers are a great example because of their size and impact on the whole travel industry. Remember America West? They became part of US Airways. How about Northwest Airlines? They are now part of Delta Air Lines. Continental has recently begun is rolling itself into United Airlines.

While the airlines try to limit confusion during the conversion process, brand managers know that featuring the best of each individual brand often works best. For example, Delta took what they felt were the best parts of both Delta SkyMiles and Northwest’s WorldPerks and developed one that both client bases would enjoy. The new United is adopting Continental’s most recent livery while keeping the name “United” on their jets.

I think brands take their place in history and never really evaporate. Use the link below to see the Delta Air Lines family tree and the parts of it’s sum:

http://blog.delta.com/2009/06/17/we-love-to-fly-celebrating-80-years-of-nonstop-service/

Delta Air Lines and the STAPLES Center – brand synergy!

Yesterday a press release was issued about how Delta Air Lines has entered an agreement with AEG to become the official airline of the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, official airline of the L.A. Kings, official partner of The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live, and will have rights to marketing in the L.A. Live complex. Whew! That is quite a mouthful of information for a one press release! What I find most interesting, though, is the impact of branding a brand like Delta Air Lines and STAPLES.

In the travel industry, perhaps it began with airlines promoting brand name coffee served on their flights? I’m not sure. But soon after we saw cruise ships starting to feature popular branded F&B outlets onboard like Johnny Rockets and Starbucks. Starwood Hotels has even created brands inside brands (see “Aloft – a vision of W Hotels”). I suppose that part of keeping brands fresh involves mixing other brands in to the advantage of both. Certainly but not limited to the travel industry, products need to be kept fresh and exposed to find and maintain relationships with new consumers.

Take this hypothetical example: John Doe just moved to Los Angeles from Atlanta to begin his career as a professor. In his new position he will travel to Asia often for research. He is an avid hockey fan and one evening goes to an L.A. Kings game to see his new home team play. At the STAPLES Center he notices Delta’s presence. In fact, he notices Delta’s presence all over Los Angeles and how they just began service to Tokyo’s convenient Haneda airport…. Back to the Kings game: Just after the 1st period, his assistant calls to report his laptop crashed. He glances up for a split second, and responds “Go to Staples and get a new one”.

The synergy of branding a brand or having multiple brands working side-by-side is – if nothing else – great exposure!

Press release with complete details can be found here:
http://www.staplescenter.com/doublecol.php?section=about&page=news_article&news_id=1871