TalkTalk hopes a move away from ‘gimmicky advertising’ will win back trust

TalkTalk hopes its new ‘This Stuff Matters’ campaign can win back brand trust following last year’s high-profile hacking scandal.

TalkTalk today (3 October) unveiled its new ‘This Stuff Matters’ campaign, which aims to move away from ‘loud and gimmicky’ advertising by focusing more closely on its existing customers.

The main ad, which was created by CHI&Partners, documents the life of a real family from Blackpool, and how TalkTalk-enabled technology and connectivity influences their lives. These include the daughter getting a text from a boy and ‘Aunty Julie’ being taught how to use her tablet.

The campaign’s ten ads were filmed over two weeks, with 16 unmanned cameras, in order to create ‘authentic’ family moments. The ads will be rolled out nationwide across TV, digital, social, cinema and press channels.

The ads aim to move away from celebrity above the line activity, and to instead promote the provider’s ongoing rebrand, which aims to prioritise handling its customers’ biggest frustrations.

Tristia Harrison, MD for consumer at TalkTalk, told Marketing Week: “We have realised customers are increasingly fed up of our market. They are fed up of being confused, fed up of loud advertising and fed up of deals that shoot up mid-contract. And the thing they hate the most is seeing the best deals saved for new customers.”

Choosing a family from Blackpool and listening to people “outside of the London media bubble” was also important in order for TalkTalk to portray ‘real people living their lives’, according to Harrison.

TalkTalk consumer MD
Tristia Harrison, Managing director for consumer at TalkTalk.

To coincide with the campaign, TalkTalk has rolled out wider changes to its business including:

  • Reward existing customers’ loyalty by giving them the same best-value deals previously only available to new customers.
  • Allow customers to switch TalkTalk packages to a better deal if they have been a member for more than three months.
  • Allow customers to fix their broadband price for 18 months to avoid price rises.
  • Put an end to separate line rental charges.

Bouncing back following hacking scandal

The high-profile hacking scandal suffered by TalkTalk in 2015, which led to nearly 157,000 of its customer’s personal details being compromised, has forced it into changing its marketing strategy.

READ MORE: TalkTalk shifts marketing spend to customer comms as brand takes a hit following hack

“The cyber attack was very challenging for our customers and for the organisation. From it, we have learnt to trust our instinct and listen to customers,” she admitted.

“The attack really put this in focus and we have moved away from loud, shouty, gimmicky type advertising, instead using real people in our ads.”

Tristia Harrison, managing director for consumer, TalkTalk

Although marketing remains important to TalkTalk in its bid to win back the trust of customers impacted by the data leak, Harrison is also quick to stress that this isn’t the only factor.

“Advertising is only one part of it. We have put more into the customer experience people have with TalkTalk by asking questions such as, does the service work, it is simple, is it easy to understand, is it straightforward and affordable? Advertising is then a great way to magnify these changes.”

Improving or not improving?

Since the cyber attack, Harrison claims the internet and TV provider’s customer satisfaction has risen, complaints are down and it is seeing an increase in new and current customers. But she still remains cautious: “This is the start of the journey. We know we have not been perfect and we know there is a lot to do. We know that customers are not just fed up of Talk Talk, they are fed up of the industry as a whole, which is why we are being quite radical today in the changes we are making.”

However, data from YouGov’s BrandIndex appears to contradict Harrison’s claims TalkTalk has experienced a rise in customer satisfaction.

Over the last year its brand index, which includes consumer’ perceptions of reputation, value, quality, buzz and whether they’d recommend a brand to friends, has fallen 1.7 points to a poor score of -9.6. Its reputation score, meanwhile, has dropped by 0.7 points to a score of -9.9.

In fact, it is currently bottom on a list of 28 of the UK’s biggest tablet and broadband providers for both ‘index’ and reputation’.

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