MORGAN STANLEY: Drops Dean Witter
and makes a play for "Morgan"
A use of identity, by a leader
New: Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's new "Morgan Stanley" brand name and logo
Launched: April 2, 2001
Story in brief:
Phil Purcell, having consolidated the leadership high ground with the January resignation of John J. Mack, moved swiftly (and smartly) to consolidate the diffused corporate brand as well.
On January 30, MSDW announced the intent to drop "Dean Witter" from its name, for reasons "the firm's executives were not prepared to divulge." But they probably included:
1) "Morgan Stanley Dean Witter" was dumb to begin with (too long, and a prolongation of incompatible cultures)
2) the acquisition of J.P. Morgan by Chase may have put effective sole ownership of the great Morgan name into play.
Legally it's still Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., but the April 2 announcement confirms the "brand name" truncation (and goodbye 'MSDW' as well). The new logo's triangle placement and pale gray treatment of Stanley suggest the intent to fade it out as well, and to preempt "Morgan."
C.E.O. - Phillip J. Purcell
Identity strategy and design -
Losing "Dean Witter" is smart... it is perhaps more widely known, but quality outranks quantity. Compromised by its Sears history ("socks and stocks" was an image killer) Dean Witter is clearly outclassed by "Morgan Stanley."
As for the logo... less smart. Eliminate Stanley and it's okay, not great but simple and direct. (I find the letterforms a bit too delicate and the triangle/arrow uncomfortably close to Accenture's arrow.) Add Stanley and it's too busy. More importantly, the two-color treatment breaks up and weakens the combined "Morgan Stanley" brand, the family jewels if there are severely limited intellectual property rights to Morgan absent Stanley.
If I were J.P. Morgan Chase, I would fight tooth and claw to retain my right to "Morgan" by strenuously opposing every truncation of Morgan Stanley to Morgan, whether by Morgan Stanley or by the press. For example I would regard "call 1-8MORGAN-NOW" as theft of property.