Keeping the Mail Relevant

James Kegley

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stop the U.S. Postal Service, its creed reads. Nor can massively declining mail volume, though the agency will have to get more creative to survive, says Paul Vogel, outgoing president of digital solutions. 

“The Postal Service needs to re-brand,” Vogel says. “Clearly we’ve got a great brand. A trusted brand . . . but it’s not this innovative brand, it’s not this digital brand.” 

The challenge is to extend existing customer trust to new products, he says. 

USPS has started its transformation by enhancing legacy mail. The agency, for example, has begun to offer mailers quick response codes on their advertisements that customers can scan with a smartphone for product information.

“The Postal Service deserves a lot of credit for . . . showing mail is still relevant,” Vogel says. But he has a longer-term vision that includes developing a secure private messaging platform and partnering with e-commerce retailers so customers can track their packages online.  

The ideas are there; the hard part, Vogel says, is convincing the USPS community to get on board.

Vogel, who recently announced his retirement, says his calls for transformation are finally taking hold after a decade of “beating the drum” for a stronger digital presence. Despite the challenge, the man who has led the charge says sometimes he gets so excited about USPS’ future he might want to keep working. 

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