Recently I’ve been hearing radio ads promoting photocopy and bindery discounts at The UPS Store. Photocopy? Huh? If this isn’t an example of how to dilute your brand I need to go back to school. *cough*
Why do I say that? Because the UPS brand is all about delivering my package. It’s not about copying in color for only 39 cents a sheet. It’s not about the fact that they can also bind my presentation for me. It certainly isn’t about color prints vs black and white.
Looking back a few years, remember how when FedEx purchased Kinko’s they purposefully kept the Kinko’s name? That was a smart move on their part because for one, Kinko’s had a name. The two brands stand on their own.
When UPS purchased Mailboxes Etc. last year they didn’t get as good a deal. Mailboxes Etc. didn’t have mass market appeal and was more about your neighborhood post office box — not photocopying and printing. Despite this fact UPS is trying to be all things to all people. A big mistake. It won’t hurt them in the long run however they will only dilute the UPS name and waste time and money. UPS means shipping. It can’t also mean “color copies.”
What should UPS have done? They should have made a gutsy move to purchase Alpha Graphics and rebranded the stores as Alpha Graphics UPS. That would have kept both ideas separate in my mind and would have presented a business advantage.
Lastly, if Alpha Graphics had said no I still think it makes sense to purchase Mailboxes Etc., however what was done next should have been different. UPS should have come up with a clever name (something cool like Kinko’s) and launched a new photocopy center overnight.
We all know what this is really about. It’s not about photocopies and it certainly isn’t about helping small businesses print their next set of generic business cards. This is about major shipping services having a location. A place in people’s minds that they can reference any time they need to ship something. In this case, FedEx Kinko’s is doing everything right and UPS should focus on what they do best — shipping.