Sprint and Sprint PCS

Sprint logo

Sprint management recognized that technological convergence, structural change, and globalization of markets were radically reshaping the telecommunications industry. Sprint would have to clearly position itself as a full-service communications provider with the scale and capabilities to successfully compete in the new environment.

Lister Butler was asked by Sprint to help ensure that the company’s brand identity and communications were up to the challenge. A comprehensive audit of Sprint’s corporate and marketing communications revealed that its brand identity and communications practices did not convey the desired image of an integrated, global telecommunications company, and key audience research confirmed that Sprint was seen primarily as a consumer long distance carrier.

Lister Butler worked with Sprint management to develop an effective positioning and brand identity strategy, one that built on established brand equity to help reposition Sprint as a leading telecommunications provider. We determined that a unified brand identity strategy — one that clearly positioned Sprint as a seamless telecommunications company able to deliver a full range of capabilities — best supported management’s vision and the business initiatives that would be crucial to the company’s continued growth and success.

The new identity strategy raises the visibility of the core Sprint brand and uses it to represent all the competencies of the organization, regardless of function, technology, or geography. The new identity system communicates all business unit identities in a standardized, subordinate relationship to the Sprint brand, and provides consistent naming and visual identity standards for products and services across all business units. This consistency enables the Sprint brand to stand for a broad range of capabilities and for the core skills and attributes that underlie all of those capabilities, helping to bring key audience perceptions in line with the reality.

Lister Butler also made functional changes to improve the impact of the Sprint visual identifier and the effectiveness of Sprint’s communications. A coordinated system of visual elements and practices was developed for all communications to establish and reinforce a distinctive brand personality. In addition, comprehensive brand identity policies and guidelines were developed to ensure that Sprint would continue to benefit from the brand identity and positioning strategy over time.

Sprint’s new positioning and brand identity strategy has enabled it to successfully extend the brand and partner with other companies in joint ventures and alliances. For example, Sprint joined forces with three cable companies, TCI, Comcast, and Cox Communications to create the first national wireless telecommunications company. Our analysis determined that, of the partner brands, only the Sprint brand had the recognition and credibility to support the positioning and marketing of national wireless telephony services. The identity system we developed for the joint venture company, which we named Sprint PCS, has increased the visibility and enhanced the stature and value of the Sprint brand, and contributed to the success of the wireless business.