What I find interesting about Bruce's entry is the fact that just this week, the USPS announced their 5 year strategic plan called “Vision 2013.” Vision 2013 "rests on three major strategies: 1) Focus on what matters most to customers. 2) Leverage our strengths to create customer value and profits to invest in continued improvement. 3) Embrace change in the way we respond to emerging customer needs and a rapidly evolving business environment.” Regarding focusing on what matters to customers, the USPS plans to build on trusted relationships, communicate effectively, start with customer needs, and provide excellent customer experiences. In their words, “being "good enough" is not sufficient to increase customer loyalty and gain new business.”
Although it has a long and enduring brand heritage, it's no secret the United States Postal Service does not have the most sterling reputation. In January of 2006, Brand Channel wrote an article criticizing the brand ("USPS - Return to Sender") stating "presently, a country's postal service is a necessary evil." They noted that "...the brand image of the postal service is largely shaped by its customers' visits to the local post office, and occasional undelivered or late mail." And based on their documented experience (a visit to a Post Office in NYC near Columbia), the brand image was definitely not a positive one.
Since the USPS obviously needs to take some drastic measures to help improve their brand, Vision 2013, seems like it should be a way to help turn around this "brand gone bad." However, I wonder when exactly this 5-year-plan is slated to be kicked into high gear - now or later? If the rumors circulating the internet are true, being deceptive about your product offerings isn’t really a good start. Communicating effectively? Building on trusted relationships? People are going to think this is a joke. Well, then again, maybe it is...and if so, the joke's on us.