In my previous blog, I spoke about AT&T’s thought leadership session at the recent ETSI NFV ISG. They explored a wide ranging of topics including; revenue opportunities from the cloud, NFV, SDN, 5G and reimagining the central office. You can read that blog by clicking here. While I was expecting more insights into NFV, on-going proof of concepts, and updates on new SDN-based services, I was pleasantly surprised to hear AT&T’s VP of Brand Identity Gregg Heard give one of the more attention-getting presentations on something you wouldn’t hear every day at a technical specifications conference; the AT&T brand strategy. But when you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Service providers should be very cognizant of how consumers perceive their brand as they try to evolve themselves from voice, data and pipes to applications, entertainment, and IoT services like smart home automation.
Clearly there’s this divide between what people think about their mobile carrier and what they think about their super cool smartphone, tablet, or wearable device, so how should a mobile operator position itself to get its more than fair share of recognition with subscribers as the app and device developers? Gregg indicated that they’re making sure that at AT&T, its brand is in the center of all considerations when it comes to presenting the company. This attention to branding is having an impact on everything from vehicles to uniforms, their cool looking hardhats, and even the legal language they use on customer facing documents. Gregg also talked about the emphasis AT&T is putting on its sonic branding (second most recognized of AT&T’s brands). But what I thought was missing from the discussion was what AT&T is doing from an employer branding perspective especially in light of their massive undertaking to retool its employees when it comes to next generation cloud technologies, NFV and SDN.
In an earlier post, I talked about AT&T’s nanodegree program that the service provider has made available to its work force to bring them up to speed on the new software-centric technologies. In addition, many tech companies are starting to see that job seekers are also eventual consumers, and if potential employee candidates deem that a company is not good enough to work for, they sure as hell aren’t good enough to buy from either. Brand identification has a lot to do with treating “job candidates as eventual customers” conceptually. Somehow, their efforts should get them some improved marks the area of employer branding.
So in summary, service providers are going through transformational activities internally and externally as they change their emphasis to a cloud-centric delivery model. Not only is there impact to the People, Processes, and Products of these companies, there’s a fourth “P” undergoing change, and that is the Perception of the brand. In order to pivot into this technology turn, should service providers try to change the way their contribution to the value chain is being perceived by consumers of their brand? It definitely wouldn’t hurt. Let us know what you think by tweeting us at @Dialogic. Also, let me know how many acronyms you think I used in these past two blogs – I may send the first person who gets it right a prize.