Blog Post

One sign mobile payments aren’t working? Militant groups have better brand recognition

Disputing the notion that any publicity is good publicity, Isis Mobile Communications, the joint venture behind the Isis Wallet mobile payments system, will be changing its branding, according to CEO Michael Abbott.

It’s hard to question the move given that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS) is cutting a bloody swath through those two countries and the association with that moniker doesn’t engender cozy feelings about a brand. The company, launched two years ago by AT&T(s t), T-Mobile and Verizon (s vz) offers a mobile payment system that runs on NFC-equipped Android and iOS devices and competes with Google(s goog) Wallet.

Per Abbott’s blog post:

However coincidental, we have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering. As a company, we have made the decision to rebrand.

The company is working on its new branding and will update customers about changes in coming months. It’s clear, however, that the current brand wasn’t working even if peace ever comes to Syria, despite lofty goals for the project a few years ago.

5 Responses to “One sign mobile payments aren’t working? Militant groups have better brand recognition”


    You have two issues here: 1) Brand confusion. 2) The state of mobile payments.

    Regarding brand confusion, how could any company compete for visibility with an organization that shares the same brand when that brand threatens world peace and is daily on the cover of nearly every newspaper, news service, etc. etc. The marketer’s nightmare!!!

    Regarding the state of mobile payments, Isis is just one implementation of mobile payments that works within one model of mobile payments. There are many other implementations of mobile payments supporting other mobile payment models. Some of these are doing quite well, but just don’t get the publicity because the payments aspect tends to be just one dimension of their overall offering and not the primary reason for their existence.

    I will say this about Isis (the mobile wallet), I’m impressed that their backers are persevering despite less than rousing endorsement from the press. Big brands like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile don’t tend stay the course when confronted with such negativity on an on-going basis. I give them credit for hanging in there. Only time will tell though if it was a wise decision.