"The new American could be a dream come true if it chooses to take the actions that'll make it real."

2/15/2013 Unknown 0 Comments

American Airlines CEO Tom Horton (L) and
US Airways CEO Doug Parker
at the airline merger announcement
at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
(Photo: Los Angeles Times)
Forbes contributor Jonathan Salem Baskin jumps on the American Airlines - US Airways merger story and its branding challenges.  We presume (?) that Futurebrand's recently unveiled work for American will stay on track.  (Nice review of Futurebrand's "reboot" of American at FastCompany Design by Mark Wilson, here.)  Baskin at Forbes asserts, "The creative opportunity is immense, almost bordering on a dream," but goes on to provide a wish list of behaviors that it would like to see in the new merged airline to "operationalize the new American brand."

Baskin concludes with this: "Past experience is that big mergers end up being nightmares for most everyone involved, except those profiting from their implementation."  Some of us have a long memory: the Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz in 1996 to create Novartis was not only a success corporate merger, fairly universally recognized as good for everyone, but also spurred an industry re-branding away from drug or pharmaceutical companies to a "healthcare" industry.  Exxon-Mobil in 1999 didn't do badly for itself either. Even, for all the mishegas of the recession, the JPMorganChase merger of 2005 still looks pretty good -- as a brand as well as an enterprise. The question of what makes a big-merger brand success needs a bit more exploration and evidence.