TalkTalk unveils more ‘emotive’ brand identity

TalkTalk has updated its brand identity in a bid to inject more personality and purpose into its marketing and better communicate the broader range of services it now offers compared with its last update five years ago.

TalkTalk’s new creative look and feel aims to be more “emotive” than previous marketing.

The broadband, TV, landline and mobile provider says the new marketing look and feel is more “emotive”, “punchy”, “vibrant” and “simple”.

Created by ad agency CHI & Partners, the new-look marketing rolls out from this week, with a TV ad premiering on 30 August during the first show in the new series of X Factor, which the brand also sponsors. It extended its partnership with the show for a further three years in May.

Alongside the new creative, TalkTalk has created a new set of customer commitments – “Brighter Basics” – which it hopes will reinforce what the brand now stands for in the next stage of the company’s maturity. The three pledges are: “always saving you money”, “always the best online” and “always going further”.

The marketing updates follow a successful year for the brand, which offers Britain’s fastest growing TV service, reaching more than 1 million customers in May, thanks to the company’s shareholding in the YouView internet TV service.

TalkTalk’s “tremendous growth”

TalkTalk marked its sixth consecutive quarter of year-on-year revenue growth in the three months to 30 June. Revenue grew 3.1 per cent to £434m.

Average monthly revenue per customer (ARPU) was stable quarter on quarter at £26.36. By comparison, Virgin’s monthly ARPU was £49.95 in the three months to 30 June 2014, while BT and Sky reported yearly ARPU of £576 and £398 respectively for the last financial year to 30 June.

Focus groups conducted earlier this year found it is TalkTalk’s “challenger brand” status that makes it appealing to customers, something the company wants to communicate more overtly in its marketing, according to Olivia Streatfeild, TalkTalk Consumer commercial director.

She told Marketing Week: “The last couple of years we have seen tremendous growth: two years ago we were just a phone and broadband business. Now we are quadplay, meaning we have entered a more emotive place in terms of what we offer customers.

“We took a step back and wanted to make sure our brand purpose was strong and shining through with customers…what really shone through in the focus groups was that TalkTalk is a brand that challenges the status quo.

“Now we are in TV in particular we want to make sure our marketing is more punchy-looking as some of our communications were not really letting our personality shine through.”

TalkTalk will now be concentrating more efforts on telling the brand story through marketing to differentiate from competitors, rather than just relentlessly focusing on price as with previous advertising.

Streatfeild says: “Our brand story is about challenging the status quo from the very beginning and making tech accessible to everyone. TalkTalk entered the market and cut the price of broadband by more than 50 per cent – the UK became one of the lowest priced regions for broadband because of TalkTalk, many customers get their first smartphones or first [catch-up TV services] through TalkTalk and those are important stories to get across.”

TalkTalk’s advertising has slowly been moving away from acquisition and price to marketing that targets current customers, as the company looks to reduce churn rates and encourage customers to take up more services. This will be reflected in the new creative, Streatfeild says.

She adds: “My goal is that our customers really start to believe and recognise the benefits of our three Better Basics. It’s key that customers remain with us for longer, that we keep them happier and we make them want to take more services from us.”

The challenge ahead

But the brand still has some way to go. TalkTalk currently sits at the bottom of YouGov BrandIndex’s tablet and broadband provider category in terms of of its Index score, which tracks consumer perception of brands across a range of measures including Buzz, Impression, Value, Quality, Satisfaction, Recommendation and Reptuation.

Additionally, TalkTalk continued to generate complaint volumes above the industry average in Ofcom’s first quarter phone, broadband and pay TV complaints report. It was the worst-performing provider in the landline telephone market, generating 0.28 complaints per 1,000 customers, an increase quarter on quarter.

Streatfeild acknowledges that TalkTalk needs to improve its complaint levels.

She adds: “Three to four years ago we were placed bottom in complaints, but we have been relentlessly improving and are getting much better and getting better data and analytics about the customer lifecycle.

“Calls into call centres and complaints have been reduced. We are no longer getting the wooden spoon but we are never going to accept that we are where we want to be.”

Part of those customer service improvements going forward will include giving customers more opportunities to manage their accounts online and via its MyTalkTalk app.

Online channels, including social media and the app, are also regarded as the “new battleground” to land marketing messages, Streatfeild says.

TalkTalk was the seventh biggest advertising spender in 2013, with expenditure up 91 per cent year on year to £93m as it sought to promote its newly-launched TV service, according to Nielsen AdDynamix. BSkyB was the top spender (£254m), BT came in at number three (£149m), while Virgin Media was in eigth place (£88m).