I agree that branding is important, but I’m not sure a common paint scheme is important. The appearance was much more important in the days before mass communication. A beautiful streamlined streaming by with a matched consist set it apart from the mundane, Pullman green trains. In the digital age, I’m not sure it makes much difference. As for the airlines, I never care what the thing is painted. It’s if I have status and points. But I’ll leave that to the psychologists to figure out.It’s more than “just paint”. Early on in my business education at University, we were taught that branding is everything, and that not having a unified brand can lead to consumer confusion, a perception of “in-cohesiveness” within the company, and in the end, rising costs for doing things like individual websites for various services, painting costs, etc. I realize that most of us on this site don’t really care. But it’s a real problem in the transportation/business world.
A personal example that occurred earlier this year, pre-COVID: I had a passenger come up to me and ask me why her flight was being marketed as “on time” when the aircraft “obviously hadn’t arrived yet” and proceeded to make various demands (hotel, vouchers, etc). She didn’t realize that the aircraft she was flying on was a spare operated by one of Delta’s regional carriers (SkyWest) and the aircraft was lettered for SkyWest, not Delta Connection as per normal.