Pitney Bowes looks to unfreeze its image

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Pitney Bowes Inc. in late February launched its most significant branding endeavor in 17 years. The $10 million re-branding campaign was almost a year in the making.

"This is one of the few companies I know where the capabilities are really ahead of the brand image," said Arun Sinha, chief marketing officer at Stamford, Conn.-based Pitney. "Today we are known as a postage meter company. Our image has frozen in time."

The new campaign aims to bring Pitney recognition as a mail and document management company, one that today handles end-to-end database and distribution services, including hardware and software. For instance, it can merge data and content and distribute this for clients through print, the Web, e-mail and call centers, monitoring who received the communication and when. However, those capabilities are not well-known in the business community.

Changing executive perception

After months of research, Pitney discovered that while it had done a good job targeting mailroom personnel, it needed to change how executives perceived the brand. Accordingly, the new campaign targets the executive suite.

"We’re trying to move from the mailroom to the boardroom," Sinha said. "We want to get to the decision-makers."

The new advertising employs humor—such as the line, "Satisfaction guaranteed or your monkey back"—to emphasize the campaign’s central message: the importance of accurate communications. That theme is captured in the campaign’s tagline, "Engineering the flow of communication."

New York-based OgilvyOne, a unit of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, created the integrated campaign, including print, direct mail, online and outdoor. Landor Associates, San Francisco, created the overall new look and feel for all brand communications.

"We found that you could take almost any communication well-known to people, any notable utterance, quotes from Shakespeare, aphorisms, and you can misconstrue it," said Bruce Lee, executive creative director-North America at OgilvyOne. "We’re using [the phrases containing a mistake in the advertising] as a metaphor to say even a small error can lead to confusion, and this could affect your revenue in a big way."

Print ads are running in publications including BusinessWeek, Chief Executive, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, The Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal.

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