Let's Reposition!

I found it very hard to be a Sprint customer—it's why I left. You can't complete many calls. The people in the stores often can't help you, because they are bound by rules, and there are so few of them that you can't get service without waiting for a long time. You can't get served on the phone very well either, because of long waits and a labyrinth to find customer service.

Ad Age Daily reports today that Sprint, after acquiring Nextel, is going to "relaunch and reposition itself as a sports entertainment company as well as a telecommunications giant." The company's new tagline will be "Yes You Can," blasted out to the world in an estimated $500 million ad campaign.

They inherited Nextel's NASCAR sponsorship, and added sponsorships with the NFL, the US Ski and Sports Association and the NHL. Oh, and of course, they have a new logo. The Sprint stores (the places I could never get good service or a "Yes, you can" answer) are being "rebranded," which probably means a superficial facelift and no change to the customer experience.

My prediction: Sprint will still suck. You can't buy great marketing, no matter how big you are. You have to do great marketing. You can't say "Yes, you can" if your employees and customers think "No, we can't." Marketing can't be a big game of fakeout, no matter how big your checkbook is.