BT says it will keep EE brand for the ‘short term’

BT has insisted it will maintain the EE brand for the ‘short term’ after agreeing terms to buy out EE for £12.5bn as it pushes ahead with plans to form its own quad-play superpower.

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Although it looks inevitable that the EE brand will ultimately perish as BT uses the deal to join Virgin and TalkTalk in creating a full complement of communications services for the home, including broadband, TV, landline and mobile, BT chief executive Gavin Patterson remained coy about its future in a press call today.

“It is something we’ll look at more around completion of the deal but we will continue to operate the EE brand certainly in the short term,” he said. “We’ve already proven we can run two brands across the business and consumer market with Plusnet and BT broadband.”

In a separate statement, however, BT said it would now move to ‘simplify digital platforms and its brand portfolio’ as it looks to generate cost savings as part of the deal.

A move to end the EE brand could make sense for BT with its latest index rating suggesting the need for a refresh.

Over the last six months, EE’s YouGov’s BrandIndex rating, which measures retail brands index score by looking at consumer perception of quality, value, reputation and satisfaction, has fallen 0.4 percentage points to a score of 3.7. Its BrandIndex rating is also fairly low-ranked; EE is 13 out of 30 when it comes to the UK’s top performing mobile operating networks.

Any guesses on a new name then?

“Our data suggests it would be better led by the BT name, or something that sounds just like it – such as ‘BTEE’,” reckons Peter Walshe, Millward Brown’s global strategy director for equity database BrandZ.

Tim Crow, chief executive of sponsorship consultant SynergyCrow, meanwhile, believes the deal also puts forward several interesting possibilities when it comes to sponsorship rights. “While it will make a lot of sense for BT to acquire EE’s current six year sponsorship of Wembley with its push on football, the options on Bafta and Glastonbury will be intriguing.

The arts isn’t familiar territory for BT and could give it an advantage over quad-play rivals as both bring balance and opportunities to generate different types of consumers that aren’t just fans of sport.”

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