Morgan Stanley downplays Dean Witter

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Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. has dropped the "Dean Witter" from its brand name and introduced a new logo meant to convey a more accessible, hipper image.

The new brand name—MorganStanley—will be melded into all of the company's advertising, Web sites and marketing materials over the next year. The Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. moniker will be kept for official purposes but will not be used in any of the company's marketing initiatives.

The new logo, set in News Gothic type, features a triangle over the "n" in "Morgan." It is intended to convey a forward-moving company with an emphasis on innovation, said Ken Runkel, executive director of Landor Associates, the branding firm that advised Morgan Stanley on the changes.

Morgan Stanley's moves come as it tries to overhaul its image to appeal to three increasingly important client bases: younger U.S. technology business owners, institutional investor clients and non-U.S. corporate clients. Global considerations in particular drove the company's decision.

Morgan Stanley's non-U.S. investment banking business has in recent years gone from being nominally important to critical to its success. Starting in 1990, the company went about building its business outside the U.S. in earnest, opening offices in cities ranging from Moscow to Johannesburg to Shanghai. Today, about half of the New York-based investment bank's revenue comes from outside the U.S.

Morgan Stanley & Co. merged with Dean Witter, Discover & Co.—a consumer finance company heavily associated with its former parent, Sears, Roebuck and Co.—in 1997. Attempts in recent years to use the "Dean Witter" name outside the U.S. have been met with confusion.

Rather than spending considerable money to build the Dean Witter brand internationally, the company decided to emphasize its Morgan Stanley brand, which has a good deal of international cachet, said Don Callahan, Morgan Stanley's global head of marketing for institutional securities. "To keep the Dean Witter brand overseas, my gut feeling is that it would have been more expensive and not necessarily more effective," Callahan said.

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