The other day during one of the sporadic snow events punctuating what serves as winter this year, I headed down to the gym for my routine morning workout, ready to engage with Joe and Mika, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but rows on rows of machines with their TV screens out of order. The screens are fed content through Direct TV and now there were dancing logos all around me, reminding me that Direct TV was now part of AT&T. It did not make me think well of either brand, but it did make me wonder about how the mistake of one (now) sub-brand tarnishes the über mark.
Bad performance does travel upwards.
I now have a worse perception of AT&T’s ability to deliver consistent service as a telephony company. Honest. I do.
Unhappily, great performance does not travel upwards, or else we wouldn’t be hearing the deep-seated resentment of the government that is a daily thesis of Morning Joe.
Exhibit A: I recently had to renew my passport. I was able to get everything I needed online. I was able to easily figure out the charges and how much I needed to send the State Department and to which address to send it in order to get “expedited” service. The mailing went out. The site promised three weeks “door-to-door” for this rushed process. Two weeks after sending, the new passport was in my mailbox. The site had warned me that if I wanted a passport card, it would arrive separately. Voila. It’s here now. Ditto my old passport, chock-a-block with memories of voyages past.
All accomplished, efficiently and effectively. As are dozens of interactions I’ve had with local, state and national government entities over the years.
Why is the U.S. Federal Government brand so tarnished? Wither all the hatred?
Note to great (and bad) brands and conglomerates which own them: Great performance of the subsidiary does not create a halo that can buffer the whole, but poor performance surely does.