UPS ponders a new look



UPS ponders a new look

Walter Woods Staff Writer

United Parcel Service Inc. is considering hanging
the familiar logo painted on its trucks since 1961 to better reflect new aspects of its businesses.

Some executives in the halls of UPS headquarters in Dunwoody think the current UPS logo, a brown shield tied with package string, is antiquated and doesn't reflect the modern company, which now offers services from cargo shipping to financing, a company source said.

What's more, UPS now tells its customers not to tie their packages with string because it either jams the handling machines or gets torn off in shipping.

UPS' lawyers with the New York office of King &
Spalding LLP have been busy in the last 90 days
trademarking dozens of catch phrases, including
"Gold Shield," "Behind the Shield," "The Amazing
Color Brown" and "People Love the Truck," among
others, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The company is also leaning toward using "UPS" as
its official company moniker, rather than the full title, - much like KFC, which dropped "Kentucky Fried Chicken," and even arch rival FedEx, which streamlined from "Federal Express."

A company spokesperson acknowledged brushing up the shield was a possibility.

"We've reviewed the possibility of refreshing our look," said Susan Rosenberg, a UPS
spokesperson. As to the flurry of recent trademarks, Rosenberg said that wasn't unusual.

"We're always looking at options we may or may not use," she said. "Some trademarks are pursued as a defensive position to lock down things during testing [with consumers]."

Companies regularly update their logos and branding to reflect changing times, said Ken Bernhardt, a marketing professor at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State

"The key is to make it fresh while maintaining the equity that has been built with the consumer with the prior logo," Bernhardt said.

Chick-fil-A Inc. has updated its logo several times, he said, as has The Coca-Cola Co., and many others. "But doing it right is critical," Bernhardt said.

Changing a corporate logo is not cheap. Developing the design, testing it with consumers, and then changing everything from company trucks to business cards can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, said Srinivas Reddy, a marketing professor at the Terry College of Business at the University of

Cingular Wireless, BellSouth Corp.'s wireless spinoff, spent about $100 million creating its new brand, Reddy said. Accenture, once the consulting arm of Arthur Andersen LLP, spent $200 million to rebrand.

Some of the UPS brand updating has already begun,
Bernhardt said. The company's chocolate trucks now feature globes to reflect its worldwide reach, he points out.

And the "What Can Brown Do For You" ad campaign launched last year highlights the company's logistics and financial services, as well as
its core package delivery business, he said.

UPS Chief Financial Officer Scott Davis said in a
conference call Jan. 28 that the company's Supply
Chain Solutions, UPS Logistics Group and UPS
Freight Services divisions are key to the company's future.

"What Can Brown Do For You" is meant to
communicate that, Bernhardt said. "The 'Brown'
campaign is a great example of a company expanding the meaning of what the company is today," he said.

UPS' new ventures are still a tiny slice of its revenue pie - about $735 million last quarter versus $6 billion from the core package delivery business.

But that $735 million is a 12 percent increase over the same quarter in 2001.

Meanwhile, package delivery volume has been down.
The slower economy curbed UPS' package delivery
business by 1.3 percent last quarter.

UPS has pondered logo changes before, but its
management committee has vetoed the ideas, a
company source said.

UPS was founded in 1905 as a purchase delivery
service for department stores in Seattle. The first UPS logo in the 1920s featured a shield behind an eagle holding a package in its talons. The eagle flew off in the 1930s, leaving the shield emblazoned with the letters "UPS" and the slogan "The Delivery System for Stores of Quality."

In 1961, UPS hired Paul Rand, a legendary logo
designer, to craft the current shield and package
string icon. Rand, who died in 1996, also invented logos for IBM Corp. and ABC television, as well as the now infamous Enron Corp. "E."

Besides possibly tinkering with its logo, UPS has
been trademarking slogans related to its foray into retail.

UPS bought Mail Boxes Etc. and its 4,300 locations from U.S. Office Products in April 2001, and may eventually rebrand those stores under the brown shield.

UPS stores, where consumers can walk in and ship
packages, are being tested in St. Louis; Seattle;
Harrisburg, Pa.; and Greenville, S.C.

UPS attorneys filed for trademarks on the words
"UPS Store" last August, and the phrase "UPS Mail
Logic" last July, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Very interesting story BUT wasn't UPS founded in 1907 in Seattle?

Just as a matter of interest, when I started at UPS in the 60's (New Jersey) we had a Porter with an 1902 seniority date! He was one of a handfull with pre 1907 seniority dates. They were department store delivery drivers kept on by UPS when they moved east in the 30's.

Damn, I'm gettin' old.


Here are the logos:


Many of the MBE stores DO NOT want to be branded as a UPS Store.


That is where you don't know what you are talking about. No tough anything. UPS bought the main office in San Diego, NOT the stores. When they hand me a check for what I have put into the store, THEN the UPS name will go on it. NOT UNTIL THEN!


FIrst off, the first post was a reprint of a news article, not the poster's opinion. So it is happening, whether you like it or not.

But not all MBE owners feel the same way you do. I have one owner that has 4 stores, and he cant wait. But this is America. And it is your business. So you should be allowed to do with it what ever your heart wishes. Best of luck!

But one quick question, what would you do if "The UPS Store" opened accross the street from you?

SO before you write off a union with Big Brown, be awful careful. UPS does not lay out money unless it sees a payoff both for you and them.


(Message edited by dannyboy on February 09, 2003)


As for the MBE stores, I read that as more opinion or speculation on the part of the writer. I did not perceive this via a company official statement. IMO, I'd leave the MBE's pretty much as they are but maybe enhance price incentives to franchise owners to push UPS product offerings.

As for the logo change, I guess nothing lasts forever but I was wondering from the article if any of the rest of you perceived a possible color change from Pullman Brown? UPS has done so much to ID themselves as a Corp Brand to that UPS shield and that color. Any change better be well thought out or this could backfire like Coca-Cola did with the new Coke deal several years ago. I love Coke and it was never (Classic Coke) the same taste after that. UPS could do the same thing if not careful. JMO.


THe MBE owner that I spoke to said from what he had heard, his employees would be wearing brown, just like us. I have a problem with allowing that many non UPS employees having access to our brown uniforms. I can see a lot of problems occurring because of this. I hope they are a different color, but with the UPS logo and shield.

I, like you, feel that a change in the "Color of Brown" would be an awful big mistake, maybe even deadly, to our ability to grow the business with product identification.



They wouldn't necessarily need to wear brown UPS uniforms. They could wear the blue, white and red uniforms that our customer counter employees wear.




Besides possibly tinkering with its logo, UPS has been trademarking slogans related to its foray into retail.

UPS bought Mail Boxes Etc. and its 4,300 locations from U.S. Office Products in April 2001, and may eventually rebrand those stores under the brown shield.

UPS stores, where consumers can walk in and ship packages, are being tested in St. Louis; Seattle; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Greenville, S.C.

UPS attorneys filed for trademarks on the words "UPS Store" last August, and the phrase "UPS Mail Logic" last July, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.




I don't think most of you understand. It is up to each individual owner. MOST, not all, do not want to be a UPS store. There are many reasons.
UPS Claims....what a joke.
UPS Billing....just trying to get that fixed is a nightmare.
UPS overnight....sorry, but it is just substandard. My driver can't seem to ever make the plane. I use to refund at least half of my overnights, until I switched to FedEx. I am not the only one either.
Choices. MBE's have always been about choices. Not just one carrier. Many of us will continue to be about choices.
What do you think self employed folks are suppose to do when YOU go on strike?
What will I do if UPS opens a UPS store across the street? Keep offering CHOICES. UPS tried the UPS store concept in Atlanta. It failed. The MBE stores there are still standing.
How am I suppose to get a package through ALIVE through Cache, IL (Crash, Il to us?)
UPS can pump out all the press releases they like, just like they did when your Union was negotiating your last contract. Doesn't mean they are true though.
One last thing. My UPS driver happens to be one of my best friends. I actually prefer using UPS, and up until 2 years ago, I was 80% UPS. Thanks to Brown's arrogance, I am now 15% UPS.
Food for thought.


I like the idea of having all the MBE store workers wear brown. Maybe we can even get them into the union! Exciting times we live in, yup, exciting times...


mbe owner.......

You seem to have a gripe with UPS......which is fine. I think what you do not understand is that the corporate office dictates what the image, store front, products, etc., will be. You will then have a choice to join the parade or to sell the franchise to someone who will march to the corporate tune. Thats why you can walk into an MBE, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Kinkos, KFC, etc. as a customer and know what you will be getting. It's called standardization. It's also part of the franchise agreement that you signed when you purchased the store with the MBE name attached to it.

You can try to get out of your agreement, or flat out sell the MBE store and open your own independent store, which may open up a whole new can of worms.

Regardless of how you feel or which carrier you recommend to customers, UPS is still getting the franchise fees and will dictate the store appearance and branding.

Food for thought.............Charlie



"As for the logo change, I guess nothing lasts forever but I was wondering from the article if any of the rest of you perceived a possible color change from Pullman Brown? UPS has done so much to ID themselves as a Corp Brand to that UPS shield and that color. Any change better be well thought out or this could backfire like Coca-Cola did with the new Coke deal several years ago. I love Coke and it was never (Classic Coke) the same taste after that. UPS could do the same thing if not careful. JMO."

Wkmac.........Couldn't agree with you more. Coke is still smarting from the mistake. It will be a long time before people forget that mess. I can't think of a single rebranding effort that has been successful. I don't count the Federal Express to FedEx change as a rebranding. They didn't change colors, type face or their name. They prety much just migrated to what everyone knew them as already.

I remember some talk durin Oz's tenure as CEO of a color change that was quickly put to rest.

I for one believe our shield represents the "complete package", regardless of what corporate venture we dip our toes into.

I would seriously reconsider my UPS investment if a corporate re-identity was announced. The shield is classic, the color is classic, it is what we are and who we are.

I'm sure there are many that will disagree with me, but I think it would be an irrepairable mistake to rebrand ourselves. We spent alot of money and accomplished many acquisitions the world over to to make our brand recognized. Now we want to through that all away?????

Doesn't make sense to me!




I allways heard it was Rolls Royce brown.

MBE, UPS at times is hard to deal with, but when it comes to refunds, there are whole industries set up to do just that. And Federal Express has just as many problems getting it there timely as we do. And they have some real jerks working for them also.

One more thing. Federal Express didnt do the rebranding, the customer did it for them. BIG difference. All they did was changed the name to fit the customer. Their name went into slang for overnight business. Sometimes that is good, other times not.


(Message edited by dannyboy on February 10, 2003)


UPS Rolls out Re-BrandMail Boxes Etc. Franchisees;ing Program to Participating Centers to Offer New Lower Prices Under `The UPS Store' Brand

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 10, 2003--UPS today announced a plan that will allow 3,300 Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) franchisees based in the 48 contiguous United States to convert their retail centers to The UPS Store.

The program also enables store owners to considerably lower the prices they offer consumers for UPS air express, ground and international shipping services.

UPS acquired MBE in 2001. Since that time, the two companies have been working together and with MBE franchisee representatives to identify opportunities to improve the MBE business model, which focuses on the shipping and business needs of consumers and small businesses. The answer came following a year-long pricing test in San Antonio and Phoenix MBE centers, as well as an additional four-month branding test in four other U.S. markets. The branding test gauged consumer response to lower pricing and various store names, including The UPS Store.

While the new pricing program showed positive results in all test markets, it was The UPS Store name, which was tested in St. Louis and Seattle, that fueled the strongest customer response. In these areas, December year-over-year comparisons showed that franchisees who converted to The UPS Store increased their overall UPS shipping volume by 70 percent, in addition to increasing customer traffic and other key performance metrics.

"Research shows us that the UPS shield is as powerful on the storefront as it is on our package cars," said Rocky Romanella, vice president of UPS Retail Services. "Now MBE franchisees have the opportunity to harness that power by combining The UPS Store name and lower UPS prices with the great service and convenience they've always offered their customers."

"We have been working diligently to ensure a winning strategy for our franchisees, UPS, and, most of all, our customers," said MBE President Stuart Mathis. "This offering of nationwide convenient locations, world-class service, and lower UPS prices provides a combination we believe will transform the way customers view the retail shipping industry."

There are no plans to change the trade name of MBE's international locations. Currently, MBE has more than 1,000 units outside the U.S.


This is from a post on another board....FYI


I'll admit that I do not know much about this UPS/MBE deal but here are some things to consider.

1. I understand that a franchisee buys a franchise from a company that owns the name, logo, etc. of the franchise (Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Midas, etc.). I would think that the franchise owner can dictate how the store looks, the name, the color, etc. If not, there is no way to build a brand name, image or have a uniform message (see Marketing 101). Imagine if every Dunkin Donuts had different colored signs or logos based on the franchisee's whims. It makes no sense to have it any other way than standard. Fedex changed the independent contractors vehicles from RPS to Fedex Ground for a good reason-brand image.
2. If an MBE store changes to The UPS Store, it appears they have to change their rates to a certain standard. The rates in every MBE now are different and some really charge a premium over UPS counter rates. Now when someone calls, goes online, etc., they will know exactly what the UPS Store will charge them. In exchange for possibly lowering their rates, I would imagine UPS is going to make it worth their while (bigger discounts, national advertising, better brand power, etc.).
3. Since some consumers that have tried MBE have found their rates a bit on the expensive side, they have perhaps switched to UPS counters or even the USPS. Now with consistant rates, they have a reason to look at the UPS Store. Consumers will probably have access to things they did not have access to before as a small shipper/small business owner (UPS Capital small business credit card, business financing options through UPS Capital, etc.).
4. Perhaps there will be no more send agains. A note can be left at a customers house indicating they can pick it up at the UPS Store. The stores have better hours and locations than customer counters.
5. Perhaps customer counters will be closed and that volume be be sent to a UPS Store. A nice bonus for the MBE owner. Of course you would have to be a UPS Store for that option, if it ever becomes an option.
6. Alligning with UPS gives the franchisee owner some financial peace of mind. The owner of MBE before UPS went in to Chapter 11 and could not really support the franchisee's with technology and other backend support. UPS has very deep pockets and wants the UPS Store concept to succeed.
7. I would be willing to bet that there is a clause somewhere in the contract with MBE Corporate that dictates how a store looks regading name, logo usage etc. I can't beleive that any MBE could change their name to whatever they want. The trade name of MBE is becoming The UPS Store in the US, so why wouldn't the store name change as well to match?

Time will tell how this shakes out but my guess is that UPS has done their due dilligence in the past 2 years since they have bought MBE and have had many corporate attornies check out the contracts.


I'm a long time UPSer and use UPS exclusively. But I have stopped using MBE to ship packages as the owners always charge more then I consider reasonable for a package.

I now go to Office Depot where they use UPS rates without an uplift, have easy to use computer systems to ship with and are in most cities.

I know I don't understand retail pricing but you would think that UPS has to do something about that situation to keep UPS's price competitive.

Maybe MBE franchisees brought this change upon themselves.


UPS urges Mail Boxes Etc., to shift to its name

By Frank Green
February 11, 2003 -- The Mail Boxes Etc. brand is headed for the dead-letters office.

United Parcel Service, which acquired the San Diego-based postal-services chain two years ago, is strongly encouraging its 3,300 MBE franchisees in the United States to convert their shops to the UPS Store monicker.

Owners of the 55 or so MBE stores in San Diego County were scheduled to meet with company officials at MBE's Sorrento Valley headquarters last night to discuss the optional switch, which will include replacing MBE's red, white and blue colors with familiar UPS brown and tan signs and logos.

UPS said it decided to push for store conversions after a successful test-marketing program at 60 Seattle shops and 30 St. Louis locations. The test sparked a surge in customer traffic and a 70 percent jump in UPS shipping volume.

Shares of Atlanta-based UPS closed yesterday at $59.15, unchanged from the closing price on Friday.

It was unclear yesterday how many franchisees plan to put their stamp of approval on the rebranding campaign, although the company said response among store owners has been "overwhelmingly positive."

UPS said it is offering MBE franchises such incentives as picking up the rebranding costs for a limited time and lowering the prices stores will be able to offer customers for UPS air-express, ground and international shipping services.

"Ultimately, this is up to each MBE franchise owner," said Stuart Mathis, MBE's president. "In every group, there are those who want to go against the tide."

Several local MBE franchisees said they expect the conversion to turn their outlets into a pretty, profitable package.

"I knew when UPS purchased Mail Boxes that this (rebranding) was inevitable," said Jay Schram, who has four MBE franchises in San Diego County. "I'm very excited about this ... It will give us a strong, legitimate name on which to grow our businesses."

Retail analysts said that massive brand conversions can sometimes be extremely risky (Pic 'n' Sav to Big Lots!, HomeGrocer to Webvan), but not in this case.

The distinctive UPS logo is almost as recognizable to U.S. consumers as the Nike swoosh symbol or the McDonald's golden arches, they noted.

Moreover, putting a single name and logo on the entire corporate structure, from boardroom to storefront, will give UPS added synergy as the premier postal monolith, providing a wide range of mail and packaging services to residential, home-office and small-business customers.

"The UPS brand is infinitely stronger than Mail Boxes, Etc.'s," said Merrill Lehrer, president of Retail Samurai Sales in San Diego. "This is a great, clever way to extend the brand."

MBE's Mathis stressed that the converted chain will continue to be operated as a UPS division out of MBE's San Diego office, which employs 300 workers.

UPS Store owners will also have the option to continue using UPS rival carriers like FedEx, DHL and Airborne.

"MBE has always provided multicarrier service, and we're going to give franchisees that choice," said MBE spokeswoman Jessica Bongers.

Local consumers will begin to see the transformation to the UPS look at some stores late next month, just prior to the official announcement of the branding rollout on April 7, MBE said.

Stores will initially have UPS banners draped in store windows and temporary UPS outdoor signs covering MBE logos.

However, UPS said it has no plans to offer the rebranding initiative to the 1,000 or so MBE franchises outside the United States.

UPS acquired MBE from bankrupt U.S. Office Products in March 2001 for $200 million, rescuing the company from a firm that could not finance expansion because of a $1 billion debt burden and other troubles.

Indeed, MBE sent between $60 million and $70 million in profits to USOP during its five-year ownership and received nothing in return, MBE officials recalled.

MBE had shaken the foundations of the retail world when it opened its first outlet in La Costa in 1980.

The company's strategy then was to offer basic postal services as an alternative to the U.S. Postal Service, which at the time did not have a wide network of retail stores.

But MBE was quickly pressed to add services to accommodate home-based businesses that needed access to computers, teleconferencing equipment, fax machines and similar business tools.

Early on, then-MBE president Tony DeSio envisioned a national even worldwide network that could assist small companies around the globe.

By 1984, MBE had 215 operating centers.

Looks like this could be a good deal for owners.



When it comes to pricing, there is a wide difference in what each "customer counter" business charges. I have three on my route. One charges anywhere from 5 to 15 bucks over what it costs to ship out each package. Another one charges a flat 4 bucks. The newest one is an MBE that replaced one that went out of business. The one that went out was the cheapest, charged customer counter rates, but had a discount program with UPS to make up the difference. Problem was that he was charging every one for the residential rate, even for business deliveries. Add to that he was paying his employees 13-14 dollars an hour......they stayed in business through christmas, then stuck us with the bill. MBE moved in the same location two days after they closed. So we will see.

But that is why there is soooooooo much confusion as to what our rates are.