Mark Bridge writes:
Mobile networks have changed, haven’t they?
Once they were all about delivering service. Coverage. Quality. Price.
Now it’s much more about branding.
Everything Everywhere has announced it’s to become EE, an obvious abbreviation that’s been used in mobile industry briefings pretty much since the company was created two years ago. It joins the likes of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hennes & Mauritz, British Home Stores, Independent Television and Marks & Spencer, although all of these took decades to transition into businesses that were just described by their initials.
What’s the point? Everything Everywhere was, as CEO Olaf Swantee admitted today, a bit of a mouthful. (I hope he mentioned this when he first joined the board). It did, however, mean something. EE sounds more like a conversation between mice in a fairy story. It’s an abbreviation with no heritage.
In its brand factsheet the company asks “Why EE?” and replies “People still find that too many of the things they want to do take too long, cost too much, or are just too difficult. With EE we’re planning to do something about it. We’ll focus on the things that matter, that make a difference, that make life easier. We want to show everyone in the UK how the magic of technology can make the everyday better.”
But that doesn’t really answer my question.
So let’s take a look at the big-name competition. There’s O2, a chemical element. There’s 3, a single digit. And there’s Vodafone, which hasn’t changed its brand name since Ernie Wise made the UK’s first ‘official’ mobile phone call in 1985. Insiders may write ‘VF’ on their notes but that’s a private thing.
The word even has a meaning. Vo for Voice. Da for Data. Fone for… er… phone.
That can’t be right.
Come on Vodafone. Get with the program. It’s time to change your name. Based on the choices of your competitors, I’d suggest something short. Something unusual. Something unique.
Perhaps a single punctuation mark. A cough. Or a fragrance.
After all, if you’re a mobile network it seems perfectly acceptable to look a bit dumb. Just as long as you don’t look a bit like a dumb pipe.