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Ericsson adjusts its vision

Swedish kit vendor Ericsson made the mistake of giving its marketing people free rein and now it has a new purpose.

‘Ericsson’s new purpose and vision imagines the possibilities of limitless connectivity’ declares today’s announcement. The new purpose is ‘To create connections that make the unimaginable possible’ and the new vision is of ‘A world where limitless connectivity improves lives, redefines business and pioneers a sustainable future’.

It’s genuinely hard to see what the point of fluffy brand tweaks like this are. What new substance has been generated? How is new Ericsson in any way different from old Ericsson? Sure, it presents an opportunity to refresh the corporate propaganda and earn some brownie points for the marketing department but otherwise, who cares?

“For almost 150 years our technology has transformed nearly every sector of society,” said Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm, presumably under duress. “The networks we build have already connected billions of people and soon they will connect almost anything and everything. This era of hyper connectivity is going to help to address major global challenges like climate change and digital inclusion.

“Our new purpose and vision is anchored in the company’s values of respect, professionalism, perseverance and integrity. We remain steadfast in our efforts to foster a culture of integrity by embedding our values into all ways of working. This important work continues, and we are committed to creating greater accountability, trust and respect with our people, customers and stakeholders, while ensuring sustainable success for the company in the future.”

Whatever you say, boss. Inevitably Marketing Head Stella Medlicott got a say too. “Our vision imagines the future we can help to create for people, business, and the planet,” she said. “Connectivity is key to reducing human impact on the planet and will help bridge the digital divide, but we also see the potential for our technology to touch even more parts of society. This is where things really get interesting.”

The announcement goes on to talk about Ericsson being ‘a positive force in society’ by helping people be connected – in other words doing what it already does. As the quotes above indicate there’s the inevitable claim of eco-virtue but no sign of new, concrete measures taken to earn it. Instead, this minor rebrand is an attempt to conflate the business of making mobile networks with broad-based philanthropy. We’ll let the market decide how successful that is.


10 comments

  1. Avatar Chris 27/09/2021 @ 4:08 pm

    When the CEO says “We remain steadfast in our efforts to foster a culture of integrity” to me it implies that integrity is something he feels they are lacking at the moment. Otherwise why would he be talking about it as something they are working on

  2. Avatar Yewshet Wushet 27/09/2021 @ 9:50 pm

    Such a rubbish article that’s not worth the paint is written with. Please vent your obvious grudge against Ericsson somewhere else.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 28/09/2021 @ 9:15 am

      Paint? Somewhere other than the website I write for?

  3. Avatar John Byrne 28/09/2021 @ 1:13 am

    They paid over $1B in fines to settle bribery charges that spanned 17 years in multiple countries. They all occurred under previous CEOs so his “culture of integrity” comments are clearly designed to signal systemic change to business practices and governance.

  4. Avatar Frankie Teo 28/09/2021 @ 8:31 am

    Integrity is Ericsson’s core strength. That is why they focus on it. Their partners and customers lacks a huge portion of it and now they are focusing on spreading it aggressively. How they support sustainability is the question.

  5. Avatar Andy Tiller 28/09/2021 @ 4:18 pm

    I still associate “Connecting People” with Nokia – I remember thinking it was a pretty good strapline back in the late ’90s. To be fair to Ericsson, it’s quite hard to sound new and fresh in telecoms. And yet somehow our industry does still change people’s lives continuously and dramatically.

  6. Avatar Ben 28/09/2021 @ 5:06 pm

    So ‘connectivity’ is not a commodity after all. Good to hear.

  7. Avatar Frank Spencer 28/09/2021 @ 5:11 pm

    Wonderful. Thank you for calling out corporate drivel.

  8. Avatar James 29/09/2021 @ 7:47 am

    I get your point and I agree these are fluffy statements but I disagree that this is meaningless entirely. It kinda shows just HOW MUCH the CEO wants the company to change into something greater than what it does today. So this whole marketing in a sense is not exactly for external but for internal so that they are motivated to find more ways to be innovative. Sure, reality can be dull, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t even try to inspire your team to become so much more.

  9. Avatar Bo Ribbing 30/09/2021 @ 9:33 am

    I think there is a misunderstanding here. Communicating a vision is not just “marketing”, it is a way to stimulate employees, partners and customers to think beyond the “now” and show a larger perspective of what we are all trying to achieve. We after all have to believe that a stimulating vision will to some extent guide people’s thinking about what they do and how they do it. The communication of a new vision says something about how the telecom industry has moved during the last decades. Not long ago, “connecting the unconnected” was the mantra of the day, but referring then “just” to people. At that point it was unthinkable that people at the bottom of the pyramid would own a mobile phone and have access to the Internet. Today it is a reality. A shift towards “limitless connectivity” signals that most of the world’s population has been connected, and we can now move on to other things which will improve our world. I for one would be more stimulated to work for an employer with a vision like that, than someone whose only vision is “make more money”.

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