TW Telecom, AT&T Rebranding Costs

TW Telecom--formerly Time Warner Telecom--will have to spend between $6 million and $7 million to re-brand the 2,800-employee company. Of course, it could be worse. AT&T executives have not to my knowledge ever said what it actually cost to conduct a number of big rebranding exercises.

When SBC Communications was rebranded as AT&T, the cost was said to involve spending of about $1 billion. But that appears to be the most-affordable of recent efforts. When AT&T Wireless was rebranded as Cingular, the move is reported to have cost $4 billion. Some three years later, Cingular went back to AT&T, for possibly another $2 billion.

There have been other, arguably less-expensive rebranding efforts as well. There was the cost of rebranding BellSouth as AT&T, said to have cost as much as $2 billion. One has to assume the rebranding of Ameritech as SBC cost at least $1 billion. Add on the earlier rebranding of Pacific Telesis as SBC as well.

Add it up and rebranding probably has cost about $9 billion. Of course, some of that money would have been spent on the original brand names in any case, so it is not as though all of that was incremental spending.

Still, it's a huge expense. And then there's the brand equity partially represented on balance sheets in the form of good will. As they like to quip in the Congress, a billion here, a billion there; pretty soon it's real money.
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