Telcos are either called things like British Telecom or Telefonica. You know, with lots of “tel”, “com” and “net” involved so that we know where we are. Or they have nice 3-letter acronym names, like SFR, which don’t mean anything to us but sound boring enough to live at the staid end of the technology spectrum. Yes, I know there’s Orange and then there’s the UK’s ‘EE’ (snort) and ‘3’ but they’re all sort of meaningless.
But NZ Telecom’s chief executive, Simon Moutter, thinks 'Spark' better reflects the company's new direction and its aspirations.
The telco is moving into the internet TV market, with something called ShowmeTV, which will launch later this year. It wants to change its image to align with the future.
"As a company we've moved far beyond the home telephone. Spark better represents what we are today - it is all about digital services, fibre, mobile, data, cloud, entertainment, apps, or whatever new technology is around the corner," says Simon.
Ah yes, of course. Telco managers becoming TV executives - things always turn a little weird. But to call yourself Spark is just asking for trouble. At a certain point customers will say witty things about the name - especially when an engineer turns up two hours late to fix a fault. Headlines about the company’s share price losing its spark will just float onto the page. No question.
I speak as a New Zealander here so you don’t get to challenge me on the national character: first they’ll laugh. Then they’re going to think it’s a cheesy embarrassment.
Are you SURE Simon?
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