In the UK the holding company for the combined Orange and T-Mobile network will be marketed as "Everything Everywhere", which of course it isn't. But I suppose, "Something, sometimes, somewhere - if there's a signal" doesn't really cut the PR mustard. Martyn Warwick reports.
So have Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom got a wee bit above themselves? It would appear so - at least in as far as someone somewhere in those two organisations seems to have convinced himself/herself that together Orange and T-Mobile are in the same omniscient and omnipresent league as a deity (OK. Who just shouted out "Steve Jobs"? That's quite enough of that. Ed).
Yesterday the Fourth Estate was bulldozed by the hype juggernaut. Let me give you an example: "The brands Everything Everywhere™ (don't you just love that subtle trade mark logo) will give the two trading brands of Orange and T-Mobile a shared platform of strength, with each brand owning clear emotional territory in terms of propositions, marketing and brand identity."
Yuch! Pass me the barf bag. This is the worst sort of over-egged PR claptrap. "Clear emotional territory" What on earth is that about? There is no emotional territory as far as mobile subscribers are concerned; there's no brand loyalty. The only time customers get emotional with their mobile service providers is when calls drop, services don't work and bills are wrong - which happens more often than the operators are prepared to admit.
Why can't they be honest and say, "The merger will allow us to share infrastructure, cut costs and jobs and make more profit?" After all, that's the reality and why the deal was done.
But read on, for the PR hype continues apace.
"Everything Everywhere" "intends to propel itself beyond mobile communications." Really ? Doesn't Buzz Lightyear say something like that in one of the Toy Story movies? Perhaps they are going to open a series of pet shops where you can buy dolphins, raccoons, wombats, monkeys, newts and armadillos.
The converged network will also be known under the catchier appelation of "E2" - as in "Give me an E, Bob. On second thoughts, make that 2."
Fortunately the man and woman in the street don't immediately have to get their heads around complex marketing concepts. "Everything Everywhere" is an over-arching umbrella brand for the newly converged network and, as far as the general public is concerned the Orange and T-Mobile brands will continue to exist - for the time being at least.
The two carriers say that the first thing consumers will notice will be when "later this year" (whenever that may be) they will be able to roam across the converged network "at no extra cost"!
The pair are also hyping the extent of their retail networks. The group will have some 700 High Street shops but that happy state of affairs probably won't last indefinitely because with a combined workforce of close to 17,000 it's a racing cert that job cuts will be imposed before long.
However, the merged company does upset the UK's mobile applecart in that it is now Britain's biggest mobile operator and has dislodged O2 from the top spot and has pushed Vodafone to Number Three in the rankings and 3 to Number 4.
Orange's Tom Alexander, is CEO of the new group while Richard Moat of T-Mobile is both deputy chief executive and CFO. They'll both be doing everything, everywhere. I'm really looking forward to seeing them doing that.
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