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CityFibre pimps its brand to drive customer acquisition

CityFibre van

CityFibre has repainted its branding in a bid to bring some clarity to the UK fibre broadband market and ultimately to further its own full fibre agenda.

Alongside the brand refresh, the fibre network builder is carrying out a broad marketing drive to push the benefits of full fibre, versus part-fibre broadband services, something it insists consumers are still struggling with from a terminology perspective.

It’s all in the tone, apparently. In its rebrand announcement, CityFibre refers to changes to its tone of voice in its marketing, bigging up its new straight-talking credentials designed to help consumers in their purchasing decisions. But to the casual observer that tone could equally be described as ‘lurid,’ with the telco having splashed lime and bright blue over a website that once boasted a logo in a sedate shade of green and, if the imagery accompanying its announcement proves to be accurate, painted its vans in a fetching combination of orange and retina-withering magenta.

It might not be everyone’s choice of colour palette, but there’s some logic in it. No one’s getting that branding confused with Openreach, are they?

And on a more serious note, that’s essentially what this is all about. CityFibre is looking both to differentiate itself from the competition and to ease consumer confusion in the fibre broadband market…the end goal of the latter point surely being that customers will increasingly choose a full fibre broadband service from one of its retail partners because they can be sure what they are getting.

“Thanks to years of forced-reliance on outdated copper and cable networks, people across the country are underwhelmed, confused and mistrustful of the broadband industry,” said CityFibre’s chief marketing officer Dan Ramsay. “Given its importance to every aspect of our lives, we don’t believe that’s acceptable.”

Ramsey’s comment is the continuation of a message we have been hearing from CityFibre for a number of years.

In 2019 the company famously lost a legal challenge against the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, having sought to overturn the regulator’s ruling that part-fibre broadband services – those that don’t take fibre all the way into the customer premises, that is – could be marketed simply as ‘fibre.’ CityFibre argued that customers were being misled, but a High Court judge disagreed.

Three years on and CityFibre still believes there is a problem here. It cites research conducted on its behalf – by whom and amongst whom it does not state – that shows 64% of consumers are unaware of the difference between full fibre and part-fibre broadband. Despite the lack of full data, it certainly seems plausible. Broadband advertising, and arguably telecoms service advertising in general, is notoriously fuzzy and riddled with small print. Add in additional options like TV packages or devices, throw in a free gift or a limited time special offer, and comparing service offerings becomes very difficult indeed. It’s entirely possible that all the would-be customer hears is ‘fibre’ when it comes to the network technology element.

“The updated brand’s assets have been designed to help cut through this confusion, explaining the superior user-experience when connected to CityFibre’s network, made possible by a new, fibre-only infrastructure platform, unencumbered by legacy network or systems,” the network operator says.

The firm has begun a direct engagement campaign, targeting 2.5 million home and businesses per month with direct mails, letter drops, digital advertising and email marketing, all designed to encourage broadband users to switch to services provided by its retail partners, the big names being Vodafone, TalkTalk and Zen. Its campaign will dovetail with those of its retailers – it has around 30 partners in all – helping them to pick up customers and migrate them to the CityFibre network.

Ultimately, this brand refresh and change in tone is about exactly that – gaining more customers for CityFibre via its retail partners. But anything that clears up some of the market confusion that still remains to one extent or another has got to be a good thing.

 

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