Brand Doctor: Does the Telus brand need new life?

REASON FOR TODAY’S VISIT: Rogers visited our office late last year when it embarked on a creative agency search. In for a check-up this time we have Telus, also now conducting a review. The cute animals schtick, created by Taxi for Clearnet before it was taken over by Telus, remains awfully cute. But does it […]

REASON FOR TODAY’S VISIT: Rogers visited our office late last year when it embarked on a creative agency search. In for a check-up this time we have Telus, also now conducting a review. The cute animals schtick, created by Taxi for Clearnet before it was taken over by Telus, remains awfully cute. But does it need new life?

DAVID KINCAID, CEO LEVEL5 STRATEGY GROUP


Diagnosis: Telus claims it’s only executing best practices around procurement procedures but I wonder about the effect on a 17-year agency relationship. Together, they have built a successful, profitable, and highly differentiated brand in a competitive category. Is Telus looking for something fresh? Or are they simply challenging Taxi to step up their game?

Prescription: A brand is the value of a promise consistently kept. Telus and Taxi have built a strong brand with a unique identity and developed a big idea for the brand that has bred major success in a hyper-competitive market. Let’s try some diagnostics first to ensure the patient has adequately tried to take its big idea to the next level. Until that’s settled, I wouldn’t prescribe an agency search.

JEANNETTE HANNA, VP STRATEGY, TRAJECTORY


Diagnosis: Darren Entwistle, the results are looking much healthier since you’ve embraced your “Customer First” regime. Obviously, walking the talk has trimmed those nasty customer churn numbers. With complaints down 27% this year, it’s no wonder there’s more pink in your cheeks.

Prescription: Stay focused.
“The future is friendly” is a powerful promise, especially when served up with simpler billing and fees people actually understand. Work it! Your offspring, Koodo, is still outpacing you in the customer experience race. As for the human race, we like our futures elegantly simple, reliable and upbeat.

MICHAEL MURRAY, PARTNER AND CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, BLAMMO WORLDWIDE


Diagnosis: Originally Telus used animals to convey that technology wasn’t scary. Then, somehow, this idea was dropped. Telus swapped a POV for a meaningless, but cute device. And like all devices, it was hard to evolve. The result is a recognizable, but repetitive, campaign that says little.

Prescription: It would be madness to throw away the critters. Telus needs to find a way to use them, based on an idea that has a strong POV. First, Telus needs to do work that gives its brand a role—why does it exist? Why should I switch from Rogers to Telus? Given that the market is crying out for a customer focused cellphone provider, I would like to see them occupy this space. If any of the Big 3 can do it, Telus has the best chance.

ALAN MIDDLETON, ASSISTANT PROF. OF MARKETING, SCHULICH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT YORK UNIVERSITY


Diagnosis: Product differentiation among the majors has decreased. Customer service levels remain low. Competitor’s marketing work has gotten more relevant, contemporary and product-benefit focused. Pricing is tighter. It’s a slower growth, margin squeezing, competitive market where customers don’t much like any of their suppliers.

Prescription: The popular “wild life” campaign creates friendly positioning but is not wildly successful at establishing specific product/service benefits (a strength of Rogers and becoming one at Bell). More value promotion activity (eg: sampling) and use of digital and social media would give it a stronger, more contemporary edge. Keep communicating the future is friendly but more emphasis on product and service benefits.

This story originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Marketing, available to subscribers in print and on your iPad.

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