Irish operator eir is on its third major rebranding project in a little over two years, having simplified the eircom brand in late 2015, and brought Setanta Sports under its own moniker last summer.
This time it’s different, reckons Henry Dummer, the company’s new Group Marketing Director.
Its latest move to reposition the brand – pre-pay provider Meteor officially falls under the existing eir Mobile brand today – has been in the works since the start of the year.
Around for 16 years, Meteor is third in the pre-pay market behind Vodafone and Three.
By contrast, eir Mobile is a marginal post-pay player, which gets bundled with broadband.
“The smaller brand has swallowed the bigger one,” observes Dummer.
“Meteor was a resilient brand… but when I looked at the bigger picture, to position the eir brand as a distinctive market leader for quad-play, it was clear it brought limitations.”
The marketing narrative has been carefully organised to raise the brand’s profile in mobile, by making clear related benefits such as sports content and bundled connectivity.
“We now have one big brand for our quad-play ambitions, with strong attributes in home broadband, content and mobile,” Dummer says.
But given the recent eircom and Setanta Sports rebrands, is eir not overplaying its hand and risking confusing its customers?
“We have done a very good job in the past two years, but we haven’t, perhaps, had a really crisp position, and all of these consumer impacts have lacked a common glue as a consequence,” says Dummer.
“By having a common narrative, and a more consistent creative platform, we have an opportunity to communicate that.
“But we have to build that brand relationship, so consumers see the benefits of the brand making things possible for them – in a distinct way, in Ireland and for Ireland. That is our opportunity.”
Dummer was recruited from Tesco Ireland in November last year and says the eir management team’s “great ambition and desire to build a well loved brand” was what attracted him to move to telecoms.
But he adds: “They knew what they wanted, but they were less sure how to achieve it.”
To help, Dummer says he needed to find “a common truth” about his new company.
With creative agency Rothco, he set about interviewing every member of staff – from the shop floor to the boardroom – in an attempt to boil down the essence of their pride and passion in the business.
“That was the most powerful thing we did,” he says.
The key was to ask the right question – to allow staff to zoom out, and open up.
“Ask about their passion for the brand, and they are more reflective. You get a different level of response,” he says.
The result? “The common theme was this idea we are a brand of possibility – it is not about what this company makes happen, but what it makes possible; what people want to do with our products and services.
“That’s where people found their common sense of pride,” he explains.
The subsequent brand position, set out in the grammatically curious tagline Let’s Make Possible, informs all of the company’s future activity, and defines its advertising creative and marketing messages.
“All of our game planning for the year ahead comes back to this question of what we’re making possible – of getting everyone to explore this big idea,” says Dummer.
The new tagline replaces the Live Life On Eir slogan, introduced with the company’s rebranding from eircom in late 2015.
“That was an invitation to join us; this is about making possibilities happen,” he says.