Polishing a brand

Branding something is rather easy, if we’re honest. Branding something successfully and keeping it successful for an extended period, or even indefinitely, is hard and long lasting process, that holds numerous difficulties which demands attention all the time. However, branding and taking care of the brand is not an cliff that can’t be climbed. It’s just challenging, and the challenge varies on many changing elements.

Branding and franchising is relevant locally as the Itella Corporation is changing their name. If you’ve never heard of Itella, I am not surprised. Only very few officials use the name Itella at all, and you mostly hear the name said aloud in the news. Itella is actually a combination of multiple corporation of the time, and Itella offers three operations; Itella Logistics, OpucCapita and Itella Mail Communications.

If you’re asking why a post service is largely known as Itella is a good question. Prior to the name change in 2007, Itella Corporation was known as Finland Post Corporation. The name was changed because the heads thought that an internationally strong name was needed for further business. The name came from different corporations merging into one, and the IT-guys at the top wanted a name that wouldn’t mean anything, to describe the glorious new beginning. The only hitch at this point was that nobody outside these guys thought this was a good idea.

If we look at other national postal organisations, we see that their names are rather rooted to history and clarity. Almost all postal administrations in Europe have a combination of country and a variation Post. Royal Mail is perhaps most high profile internationally, and it’s brand is as strong as it has ever been despite the negative rumours and other hearsays.

The reasons for changing the Itella name to Posti (=Post) can be summed up very shortly; failed branding. The Posti brand had served Finnish people for 375 years, and discarding the name caused some sort of backslash. Nobody ever has discussed about Itella; it has always been Posti this and Posti that, and only when something negative was said the name Itella could pop up. For all intents and purposes, Itella didn’t exist but on paper. It is very understandable that the name change applies only in Finland. The whole issue of being an international corporation loses integrity when we recall that Itella means nothing anywhere. If the corporation truly is proud of the roots they have, the name would have never been this stupid and would have been something akin to Finnish Postal Services.

Itella has been using two brands in Finland, Posti for consumers and Itella for business use. Using two brands has been costly venture for them as well as somewhat confusing. In practice, there is no reason to have multiple names for what is essentially the exact same service on different levels. This has caused unnecessary amount of additional expenses and, truth to be told, has never worked.

There is also another part why the change of the name was, to some extent, wanted by the corporation. Itella has gained somewhat notorious infamy from the consumers in almost every regard from their customer to postal service and anything in between. It wasn’t all too uncommon to, still isn’t, to hear someone wishing for the return of old Finland Post Corporation. The changes Itella brought in did diversify the corporation’s image and functions, that can’t be denied, and yet the consumer could only feel the changes in the core function of delivering the mail.

As such, it makes more than sense to get rid of the dual branding they had and return to the name the Finnish people still associate positively with. You get rid of a money eating monster and hopefully change the name for more liked one. If you want to be completely technical, like Itella wants everybody to be, Itella Posti has that post in the name and technically Post never vanished. This is, of course, bullshit.

The name change, according to Itella itself, is part of a larger vision for the company that will extent all the way to year 2020. Internationalisation seems to be their highest goal on the long run, and I’m sure the consumer level Finn feel it in form of people losing their jobs and mail services getting worse. This sounds highly pessimistic, but this is something we’ve already experienced with Itella.

Lost faith is hard to recover, rebranding has always been a harsh way for any company to tell the customers that they’re willing to change for the better. However, in this case it serves another purpose of showing the customers that the company is ‘returning’ to a more familiar name while getting rid of excess expenses. Nothing else changes.

I have no emotional love for either Itella or Posti. All I care is that their services are top-notch and my mail is delivered with care and speed. I am willing to pay the corporation for their service. That’s all they’re good for. This applies to any and all corporation, from Valve Corporation to my local grocery store. It doesn’t matter who is the seller at that time or who leads the corporation, makes decisions or anything like that. Nobody there matters enough to be known by name. All that matters is that we, the customers are gods and the corporations exist to provide us. If they one is unwilling to do so, there are always alternatives.