A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but what about Parcel Post and Express Mail? If these products have new names, will they be more appealing to customers? We are about to find out. 

Later this month, the U.S. Postal Service will change the name of Express Mail to Priority Mail Express. Earlier this year, the Postal Service renamed Parcel Post to Standard Post. These name changes also come with some product enhancements, including improved tracking and insurance services. All of these changes are designed to strengthen the Postal Service’s shipping business in the rapidly expanding package delivery arena.

Parcel Post, one of the Postal Service’s oldest products and among its best-known brands, just celebrated its 100th anniversary. Its origin in 1913 is memorialized in stone at the old Post Office Department headquarters in Washington, D.C, where it is among a list of historic postal products inscribed in the building’s façade. In 1977, Express Mail became one of the few new “subclasses” created since passage of the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act. Since then, it has been known as the Postal Service’s premier express mail service, providing overnight delivery to some destinations. Of course, postal products should evolve to meet market needs, not remain frozen in time like an etching in stone.

Despite the long history of these products, the Postal Service believes that these rebranding changes will reinvigorate them and make them more competitive. In particular, the Express Mail change seeks to capitalize on the strong Priority Mail brand and the positive associations with it. Express Mail volume has fallen three times faster than Priority Mail since 2006, and Priority Mail is 20 times larger than Express Mail; and unlike Express Mail, Priority Mail has seen recent volume growth. Also, the Postal Service said “Priority Mail Express” will allow it to offer more definitive service expectations. Priority Mail will no longer be called a “2-3 day” service, and instead customers will get 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day service based on the specific origin-destination characteristics of the package.  

Do you think the name change will reinvigorate Express Mail? Will customers be confused by the name changes? Are the name changes important from a sales and marketing perspective, or are there other service-related changes that would help? 

Regarding Standard Post, does the jettisoning of the established “Parcel Post” brand strengthen the Postal Service’s position in the shipping business? Does the inclusion of “Standard” in the title make it too similar to other postal products, notably the mail category of Standard Mail, which is used by business mailers to send advertising? Or is the name likely to be unimportant to users of this ground parcel service?

Comments (73)

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  • anon

    The change in name of package services will lead to confusion and possibly a drop in revenue. Some people may think that overnight express was discontinued and will use a competitor. And is there going to be a guarantee for one day priority, 2 day priority, and 3 day priority? I don't think so.

    Jul 16, 2013
  • anon

    They changed the name of parcel post and now it costs more money and they are just driving customers away. They want to raise prices and that is the worst thing they can do in this economy.

    Jul 16, 2013
  • anon

    Unless USPS is going to begin to guarantee day-specific service for its Priority and-or Priority Express products, renaming and rebranding them is pointless. As for Parcel Post, it is such a well established product brand that it is indeed a mistake to re-name it. Rather, begin to advertise and emphasize Standard/Parcel Post more. However, if the Standard/Parcel Post product is a money-loser, perhaps it should be discontinued entirely and add a lower-rate, guaranteed 5-business day delivery Priority Mail or First-Class Mail Parcel product in its place.

    Jul 16, 2013
  • anon

    I can appreciate the change from Parcel Post to Standard Post. It makes sense and it's easier to explain to a customer. I do not agree with the Express Mail change. This is the premier service that the USPS has to sell and the new name in my opinion "cheeses" it up. Overnight mail needs to be a seperate service all by itself. It needs to be able to sell itself so to speak. Just my opinion.....

    Jul 16, 2013
  • anon

    I do agree that re branding will inspire increased usage BUT my concern is are we able to handle additional volume? With the haphazard closures of both distribution plants and delivery units does the Postal Service have the infrastructure in place to capitalize on increased business? Or did they spite themselves in order to placate those Congressmen who would prefer to see the Mail in private & in corporate control?

    Jul 16, 2013
  • anon

    I agree about changing the name but not about the new name. Customers are confused between FedEx and Express mail. However, will a new business crop up using a name similar to the new name such as Fed Ex did when the USPS started Express Mail? Carriers see all the time where customers add to their bulk things to make it look official (terms such as certified and the colors that match the USPS colors). Could something be done to stop that infringement?

    Jul 16, 2013
  • anon

    I am very unhappy with the name changes. I have been in retail for 11 years (window clerk), and speaking amongst other SSA'S (sales/service associates) we think the new names will confuse customers and dilute the priority brand. How do we truly distinguish Priority Express mail from Priority mail? Have they figured out the new questions we have to ask in the bigger offices? (With the last changes)Retail dropped the ball informing the field what questions we had to ask our customers- I'm an on the job trainer and had to find out weeks later what changes were made to our "script'. I think that part of the reason for the popularity of priority mail is because of the successful marketing campaigns. With 1-2-and 3-day priority express, I am afraid that customers will opt for the cheaper priority or 1st class (why pay more when the mail piece will probably get there in 2-3 days with the cheaper services). If we are so hot to compete with the other BIG 2- why not guarantee 10am delivery to select destinations, or up the insurance amount? Why not promote the fact that we provide better service for less money?

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    why does it matter as long as you get your mail, if anyone thinks the post office wastes money. just take a look into your senators and representatives they spends approx. 300,000 a year on sending you junk mail.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    I spend $50,000 a year sending packages by USPS. It matters because as an online retailer, these changes were unannounced, confusing and expensive for us, as businesses, to change. I have been losing money for the past month because I got no notification. I'm just seeing these for the first time and I am awestruck. I have been a strong supporter of USPS and have been in marketing and advertising for decades. This was terribly mishandled and bungled from start to finish. It's taken my IT guy a month to find and send me these updates. NOBODY understood what was coming.

    Aug 11, 2013
  • anon

    NO! They're calling it 'rebranding' when it's really brand confusion. Nothing but a pretext to further lower service standards in direct violation of US Code 39, Section 101 as it currently reads. More bad decisions from corporate and more bad news for our customers and rank-and-file USPS craft employees.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    Mail marked as parcel post would only downgrade the urgency for delivery to the customer. This move would also increase costs, as new mailing material will have to be printed! Don't let them take away your service guarantees

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    We've always been told that if the customer says just send it regular or standard that we are to sell them priority for parcels. Now, when they just say standard, it really is a class of mail. Let's change the name of first class to regular!

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    all is great For U.S.A.gov.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    i will be glad if you will do that for me . because i have been waiting for long time and i dont even know when it will be reach my house . thank you ups and i will make sure we will work together thank you

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    I also believe that the loss of Express mail was greatly attributed to the Sunday surcharge.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    Parcel post to standard is fine and I am in agreement. Priority Express is as you can see from the voting response of your polling, the public is not happy. The public has accepted Priority Mail as 2-3 days and Express is overnight for years. This PriorityExpress will confuse the public, that I see people possibly giving up on us and more and more going to our competitors. Something we can no longer afford.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    This is ridiculous. I repurchased a label from my usps account history and need to schedule a pickup. The only thing the label says is priority 2 day. I have no clue which envelope I am suppose to use the priority express or priority mail. If they are going to be changing things they should at least make it convenient and have the names of the service clearly match in their system for the consumer. Now I have to make calls taking up my valuable time to find out how to send to make sure the mailman picks it up, thus, if the envelope doesn't have appropriate service attached it will not take it and leave it at my doorstep. Urg, leave well enough alone. Bad enough their website is so hard to even locate your package history without going to stupid tabs that don't make completing task easy and simple.

    Dec 12, 2014
  • anon

    Yes! I just order and paid for something on eBay within overnight shipping rate and delivery date and now when I opened up tracking it says 2 days!! Just BS

    Jan 27, 2014
  • anon
    Helaine

    Link exchange is nothing else however it is just placing the other person's website link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar in favor of you.

    Jul 16, 2013
  • anon

    I do not agree with the Postal Service's decision.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    One might be able to understand the USPS fetish with marketing and branding is it were simply just another corporation in the marketplace. It isn't though and these constant attempts at window dressing detract from the overall mission of a public post. Given the way these products are promoted at the retail window there has to be some concern that this sort of rebranding is a way to deceive or at least confuse customers. Many windows no longer tell customers about alternative services like parcel post or media mail, instead pushing Flat Rate priority even when that isn't the best solution for the customer. The Postal Service needs to focus on its core public service mission more and spend less time mimicking the private sector.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    The conversion of third-class mail to "Standard Mail" was bad enough, not least because the common abbreviation for "standard" lends itself to bad jokes and snide comments. The new term "Standard Post" will simply make the situation worse.

    Jul 15, 2013
  • anon

    It's just a waste of more money. Their going to have to change the packaging supplies and throw away the old ones. They will have to change signage. Just leave things as they are and try to get the mail where it's going in a quicker manner. I had mail going from Augusta to Atlanta and it took 6 days. What is wrong with this picture?

    Jul 18, 2013

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