Sage’s train of thought unwise

Oh dear. Despite being a Marketing Week reader, Allen B Sage (MW letters, April 30) has a slender grasp of marketing principles, or even simple logic. If “millions spent on brand development” do not affect customer perceptions, how can BA’s change of design have lost a unique and valuable worldwide identity”? Brand development is either valuable or it is not.

The narrow-gauge of Mr Sage’s thinking – old logo good, new logo bad – is out of step with contemporary customer service. Of course, service providers must address the basic needs of their users and, in rail terms, these do not include reliability, punctuality and hygiene; they must also fulfil their franchise requirements, which include refurbishment of rolling stock. But such carriers know they must exceed their obligations if they are to win staff and customer loyalty and increase the constituency of users.

To influence a new generation of train users, to satisfy the expectations of tourist and domestic leisure travellers, to convince single women that their concerns are addressed, to woo the reluctantly captive commuter markets and to reassure and energise staff, train companies must invest in safety, performance and comfort, introduce new products and new ways of delivering service – and they must also find ways to manage and broadcast these changes.

“Fancy coloured logos” aren’t destinations, they’re signposts.

Alec Rattray

Senior account director

Saatchi & Saatchi Design

London W1

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