Carlotta Ventura, Telecom Italia’s Brand Strategy and Media Director, discusses the operator’s rebranding

Eurocomms.com: Why have you decided to rebrand Telecom Italia as TIM?

Ventura: The business model of the telco/ICT industry is moving towards convergence.

With one single brand for our whole offer it is easier to reach out to more customers and answer specific needs.

A second important reason behind the project is to become more efficient.

The new TIM brand will launch in December or January. It’s not an advertising ploy – it’s a huge project that will cover all the different touchpoints.

We are trying to mix the heritage of Telecom Italia with fresher, younger perception of the TIM brand.

How long has the process taken?

Our CEO was very generous – he gave us 18 months! We had very strong endorsement from both the CEO and the Chairman.

How much money has it cost?

The majority of costs have come from existing budgets. However, we are planning a strong advertising campaign and that will be the major expense.

Will it make a contribution to Telecom Italia’s bottom line?

Of course, it is one of the reasons why we are doing this! It will reduce churn and attract new customers if we can be clear and simple.

Keeping things simple is a mantra for us… it is something customers need.

What are the KPIs that will define its success?

There are several. One of the most important is brand reputation, customer satisfaction is another. But we also look at things like bounce rates on the website… and of course sales.

What has the been the biggest challenge you have faced during the rebrand?

The biggest challenge in this journey is to be aware of where we stand in every step and to take responsibility for the choices we make.

For this, we have put in place a very clear research structure that allows us to monitor in a continuous way the possible responses of our stakeholders – first of all our customers – to a specific action we are about to make along the way.

I would say research is crucial in such a process.

The second challenge has been to engage our people to become ambassadors of our new positioning.

You come from an automotive background – how does the Telecom Italia brand rate against the likes of Ford/GM?

It is difficult to compare the two. In automotive, customers physically touch the cars they buy, but they only buy them every five five years or so.

Telecoms is something you can’t touch, it’s a totally different feeling.

Telecoms brands are viewed as being far behind the likes of Google, Apple, Facebook etc…

The big difference [between the two camps] is that we have people. You cannot call someone at these digital companies.

Proximity is one of the tangible values that we have in telecoms. It is important – the feeling that someone is looking after you.

Consequently, we are very focused on the people in charge of care and sales.

How do you think the general public in Italy views the Telecom Italia brand, currently?

Telecom Italia is the mother of Italy! Everybody has a friend or a relative who works for us.

Outside of telecoms, what brands do you admire and why?

Valentino – it's Italian glamour! But ‘Made in Italy’ is an opportunity for Telecom Italia also.

Ultimately, why is a strong brand so important?

There are two points: it allows you to charge premium prices and it’s easier to engage the customer. Also, if you have a strong brand then you need less money for advertising.

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