A few thoughts on the United-Continental merger

I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the just-announced United-Continental merger. There's a lot out there about the terms of the deal and other specifics, but just to recap, the $3 billion merger (which has yet to be officially approved) would create the world's largest airline. The airline would be based in Chicago and keep the United name (but the Continental logo) and would be led by Jeff Smisek, the current Continental CEO.
(Yes, that is a 787.)
Here we see the consummation of Glenn Tilton's dream - for several years now, nearly every other word out of his mouth has been either "merger" or "consolidation." And it's a great fit, network-wise: there's little route overlap, which should help the deal get anti-trust approval pretty easily. (For another perspective, check out Dan Webb's post at Things in the Sky.)
But I'm going to focus on one aspect of the merger here: branding. There's a picture of Jeff Smisek and Glenn Tilton shaking hands in front of the new United logo, which is nothing more than the Continental logo with "United" in there instead. And the paint job would be exactly the same as Continental's - again, with the name "United."

Maybe it's just me, but it looks pretty bad. I've come to associate the United name with that familiar block typeface and the "tulip" logo, which has been around for almost 35 years now. I can see that perhaps management wants to appease Continental employees concerned with the disappearance of their name. And this would certainly be a relatively low-maintenance rebranding, too; just replace the word "Continental" with "United" everywhere and you're done. Apart from the fact that United's the one that's technically doing the buying here (despite the 'merger of equals' talk), one of the reasons that the United name is the one that's staying is because it has a stronger global reputation.

I'm hoping that once the merger gets final approval, some more time and effort goes into designing a better brand - if they're going to keep the United name, they should also keep the logo.


Fred said...

I agree with what you're saying-I actually think they should come up with an entirely new logo. While Delta changed their logo right before the Northwest merger I believe, I am pretty sure they wanted a new look and brand because they knew a merger was imminent. I also think (like you said) the United name and logo is more recognizable than Continental's. I am also hoping they will create a new image.

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cairns12 said...

Hi there,

I support the above statement that just replace the word "Continental" with "United" everywhere and you're done.

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I am very empress from you and continental CEO Jeff Smisek efforts for providing better airline services.

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