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Delta Charts Flight Plan for a ’Brand’ New Era


ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines has a new updated corporate brand -- a striking three-dimensional, red “Widget” icon flying across a blue background -- that reflects the company’s successful transformation into a highly differentiated, customer-focused airline. The updated brand, the result of months of employee and customer research, will appear on more than 900 Delta and Delta Connection aircraft, in more than 300 airports, on Delta’s award-winning Web site, and in all advertising and printed material.

Delta rolled out the first Boeing 757-200 painted in the new livery at an employee celebration in Atlanta and will transform its Web site and install new signage at more than 300 airport check-in locations in Atlanta and New York City.

“Delta’s brand, which includes the customer experience and our financial stability, has been changing for the last 19 months thanks to the tireless efforts of Delta people worldwide,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s vice president of Marketing. “Now, it’s time to refresh our visible brand identity to mark the progress we’ve made. It represents the very core of Delta people who are more passionate than ever to provide our customers with the very best experience possible.”

Since 2005, Delta has transformed itself and put in place elements of a stylish, inviting new look and feel, from refurbished aircraft cabins with comfortable all-leather seats to designer uniforms to renovated facilities and additional Crown Room Clubs(r). Additionally, Delta has extended its worldwide reach by adding more than 60 new international routes to five continents in the last year and by translating into five languages.

As part of the re-branding process, Delta engaged a group of employees representing diverse customer-facing and corporate support divisions from Europe, Latin America and the United States to help in the transformation of the Delta brand. This global group, called the Delta Brand Council, met in focus groups to discuss the importance of Delta’s brand to themselves and their peers and to evaluate potential design work.

Honoring the heritage of the Delta “Widget” is one outcome of the Brand Council’s involvement. In 78 years, Delta has had 19 brand logos. A “delta-shaped” triangle was incorporated in all of them except the “Flying D” logos from 1945-1959. Early logos also featured the Norse god Thor and the Roman god Mercury. The first red, white and navy blue triangle emblem -- affectionately known to Delta employees as the “Widget” -- was introduced in 1959 when Delta entered the jet era with the introduction of the DC-8. Its shape resembles the swept wing appearance of a jet seen overhead. The current brand honors the most famous version of the “Widget,” maintaining its sharp lines and vertical position.

Additionally, Delta’s new brand provides ways for the airline to be more efficient in its branding process. The previous “flowing fabric” design introduced in 2000 required eight different colors when applied to aircraft -- four shades of blue, two shades of red, one white and a clear coat -- while the new livery requires only four. There is less paint layering on the new livery, which will help Delta trim paint cost costs, reduce aircraft weight and subsequently achieve additional fuel savings. The new livery also will save Delta approximately one day in each paint cycle and reduce by 20 percent the number of man-hours and out-of-service time needed to paint a Delta aircraft. Delta aims to replace signage in all its airport locations by the end of 2007 and to complete the repainting of its fleet on an accelerated schedule over the next four years.


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