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Superbrands case studies: BT

As well as being one of the best-known companies in Britain, BT is also a brand recognised and understood across the globe.

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BT's vision is to be dedicated to helping customers thrive within a rapidly changing world -- the converged world -- where individuals and businesses increasingly need to connect and communicate whenever and wherever they happen to be, using whatever device they choose.

Market
The UK telecoms market is worth tens of billions of pounds and is characterised by intense competition, whether for traditional voice services, mobile telephony or broadband. 

The industry is currently in the middle of a sustained period of market consolidation where major communications companies have been joining together so that they can offer customers more than one service.

For example, some offer 'triple-play' (broadband, TV, landline telephony) services, while others provide 'quadruple-play' - where a mobile phone service is added.

A number of powerful brands, including BT, have set their sights on succeeding in this, the quickly developing, increasingly competitive multi-services market.

For BT this means that its brand becomes a critical differentiator and is compelled to work even harder for the company than ever before.

Achievements
BT has successfully transformed itself in recent years. It has evolved from being a supplier of telephony services to become a leading provider of innovative communications products, services and solutions. Its customers range from multinational corporations to residential householders, of which there are more than 20 million in the UK.

The company is the driving force behind the success of 'Broadband Britain' investing millions in a nationwide network providing blanket coverage across the UK. At the end of March 2007, there were nearly eleven million BT wholesale broadband connections in the UK.

In May 2007, BT announced it had become the UK's most popular broadband retailer, by leapfrogging over the combined customer base of Virgin Media and ntl:Telewest Business into the number one position. BT now has more than 3.66 million broadband customers, equivalent to a 26 per cent share of the overall broadband market.

For the sixth year running, BT has been recognised as the world's top telecommunications company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

DJSI assesses companies worldwide on their performance in areas such as corporate governance, environmental management, community investment, human rights, supply chain and risk management.

Product
BT's portfolio offers an extensive range of innovative telephony, broadband and mobility products and services.

The company's developments in products and services for consumers are consistent with its focus on meeting the requirements of today's and tomorrow's customers.

The British consumer's love affair with broadband reached new heights in June 2006 when BT launched BT Total Broadband.

Powered by download speeds of up to 8Mb, BT Total Broadband means BT customers get more for their money through free internet voice calls, free video calls, wireless broadband access and a suite of BT launches a comprehensive consumer broadband package - BT Total Broadband.  A new brand in digital TV entertainment - BT Vision - is also launched. security software - all brought together through the revolutionary BT Home Hub.

According to independent broadband service monitors Epitiro, BT Total Broadband provides consumers with the UK's best performing, most comprehensive ADSL broadband service.

Other innovative products include the award-winning BT Fusion, an intelligent mobile service that switches calls to a BT broadband line when the user is at home.

Customers get the convenience of mobile combined with the lower call costs and generally superior call quality advantages associated with a fixed-line phone. Earlier this year BT introduced its BT Fusion WiFi handsets. These use the company's growing network of hotspots and Wireless Cities (where BT is currently rolling out high speed WiFi infrastructures in some of Britain's biggest cities) to offer customers thousands of extra places to get great value on their mobiles.

Meanwhile, BT Home IT Advisor - BT's nationwide home computing help and advice service - boasts more than 40,000 customers and has proven a massive hit with 96 per cent of customers satisfied with the support they receive.

Underpinning BT's range of innovative services is its national network. The company is investing £10 billion to transform the network into an IP-based '21st Century Network'. This transformation is well underway and due for completion in 2011.

The 21st Century Network will carry all voice, video and data traffic on a single, state-of-the-art network giving consumers optimum capabilities to be able to communicate wherever they may be, using whatever device they choose. The first customers went live on the new network in November 2006.

Recent developments
In December 2006, BT launched its next generation television service, BT Vision.

BT Vision is the first widely available TV service of its kind. It combines the appeal of TV with the interactivity of broadband. Customers can watch what they want, when they want and not be tied to TV schedules.

Delivered through a set-top box, the V-box, BT Vision contains a personal video recorder (PVR) able to store up to 80 hours of content, pause or rewind live TV and record programmes at the touch of a button. The box is also HD ready.

Customers of BT Vision, which is subscription-free, have access to an extensive library of on-demand content via their broadband connection and will also receive more than 40 Freeview channels through their aerial.

Promotion
Since October 2005, BT has been running a major TV and radio advertising campaign pulling together all of BT consumer communications with a consistent theme and tone of voice. The campaign follows a period of running separate campaigns for different BT consumer products. The campaign features a thoroughly modern, albeit everyday family headed by the characters Adam and his partner Jane using BT products to help them navigate through life's ebbs and flows.

The ads are designed to reflect the increasingly converged world of communications we now live in and focus on a range of BT products and services from WiFi to phonebooks, from 118 500 directory enquiries to landline texting.

In May 2007, BT unveiled a new ad campaign designed to position BT Vision as Britain's most flexible digital TV service. The ads develop the story of Adam and Jane as they each rush home from work, anticipating their ideal night of TV via BT Vision.

Brand values
BT's corporate identity defines the kind of company it is today - and the one it needs to be in the future.

Central to that identity is a commitment to create ways to help customers thrive in a changing world. To do this, BT focuses on 'living' its brand values which are as follows:

Trustworthy - doing what it says it will; Helpful - working as one team; Inspiring - creating new possibilities; Straightforward - making things clear; Heart - believing in what it does.

The BT strapline - Bringing it all together - conveys leadership in the way BT enables global business customers to profit from convergence.

 

Things you didn't know about BT

  • More than a million BT customers have now chosen to switch to paperfree billing.
  • Engineers from Openreach collectively climb the equivalent of Mount Everest every single day while carrying out maintenance on telegraph poles.
  • In addition to 300 million telephone calls, 350 million internet connections are also made across the BT network every day.
  • The use of conference calling by BT staff worldwide has helped reduce BT's carbon footprint by at least 97,000 tonnes of CO2 and eliminated more than 860,000 face-to-face meetings, in the last year.

Timeline
1981 British Telecom is created from Post Office Telecommunications and then privatised in 1984.

1991 The company unveils a new trading name, BT, together with the 'piper' brand identity.

2001 BT rebrands its mobile business as O2, prior to its demerger.

2006 Openreach opens for business and is responsible for managing the UK access network on behalf of the communications industry.

2007 BT launches a major new TV ad campaign to promote BT Vision.

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