Marketer: Broadband Needs Brands

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Boston— Broadband providers are poorly prepared for a competitive onslaught if their only message is about packaging and price, said June Blocklin, vice chairman of Young & Rubicam Brands at the CTAM Summit Wednesday.

If cable companies, as service providers, had better service reputations, they could talk less about price, she said. That’s because when the pricing message becomes a barrage to the consumer, the end user will default to the company with the best brand, she said.

The best brands come from companies that offer tangible benefits (think American Express and its gold, platinum and black cards); make simple promises (multiple choices lower the likelihood to buy); and deliver simple images (such as Nike and its “Just Do It” marketing message).

“If you spend your time discounting, in a panic, you’re in a very bad place. Look beyond that and promise something bigger,” she advised. The best brands are dynamic, promising to change consumers’ lives.

“Think about how you can get consumers bragging about their relationship with your brand,” she said.

Cable has enjoyed successes with its distribution of digital services, high-speed data links and telephone service, she said, but warned against getting comfortable and “hunkering down” behind those products, playing defense.

Companies should look within, find their own internal pitfalls, but also monitor the failures of potential competitors and “do the opposite,” she said.