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Pitney Bowes Hopes Rebrand Will Move Image Beyond Mail

FutureBrand and DigitasLBi Hired for Brand and Digital Reboot

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Bill Borrelle
Bill Borrelle

Pitney Bowes has hired FutureBrand and DigitasLBi to help show the world it is more than just a mailing and shipping services company -- an image it has had for nearly a century.

The company turns 94 on April 23, at which time it plans to announce efforts to reposition the company's brand, as well as update its digital presence, tasks FutureBrand and DigitasLBi will take on respectively. The results of their collective efforts will likely not be seen until the fourth quarter of this year, but the company has high hopes for the work the agencies will do.

According to Bill Borrelle, senior VP-brand strategy and integrated marketing communications, a rebranding is long overdue.

"There's a low understanding of the role we play in commerce. We're currently driving billions of transactions a year and we have evolved faster than the perception of our brand," said Mr. Borrelle. "We've bought companies to enable us to be a leader in location intelligence and have grown strong in ecommerce enablement as well. Our story is fairly consistent, but the perception is lagging."

Mr. Borrelle joined Pitney Bowes about six months go from the agency world, most recently as the CEO of McGarryBowen. Prior to that, he worked at Digitas.

"The selection was based on their [respective] b-to-b experience. FutureBrand has a strong track record of repositioning brands for the future -- as its name suggests -- and with brands that have a legacy," said Mr. Borrelle. "DigitasLBi has a team that has an energy to help us transform our digital presence. They also have a global footprint, which was important to us."

New York-based FutureBrand has designed brand imagery for airlines to utilities companies and found that Pitney Bowes was in essence no different from any of its clients, in that it has a legacy to uphold while considering its future.

"We need to have people give them another look. The brand work will be built on a solid foundation, but there will be a defined field; an emotional hook," said FutureBrand Executive Director of Strategy Kari Blanchard. "After doing our research [on Pitney Bowes] it was amazing to learn all of the things we didn't know the company did. Repositioning their brand is the biggest challenge for sure, but they are in such a tangible space and have such a rich history, we want that as a launch pad to help broaden the story. Ultimately, we have to tell a new story with the legacy business still intact."

Meanwhile, DigitasLBi will oversee work on Pitney Bowes' website and other digital properties, as well as the underlying technologies behind them. But the real challenge for the agency will be largely non-technical.

"One of the biggest things to look at is the sheer number of audience members and constituents they have ... and then connecting them all to [the company's] digital presence," said Cathy Butler, senior VP and group director at DigitasLBi. "We also need to find the through line from where they were to where they're going. Digital is an important opportunity to help build relationships with their long-time shipping customers and software customers."

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