Charter Communications introduced its new logo early this
month as part of an aggressive new branding campaign coinciding with the renaming of
former Marcus Cable systems.
According to Mary Pat Blake, the MSO's senior vice
president of marketing and programming, the new logo is meant to convey a portal with
information, entertainment and data flowing in and out. "That portal can be either a
TV or a PC [personal computer]," Blake said.
Charter's new logo is decidedly high-tech, and it
includes the tag line, "A Wired World Company," which is Charter owner Paul
Allen's familiar slogan.
"We have far more bandwidth than other
telecommunications systems," Blake said, and the new marketing campaign will promote
that message to consumers.
The new logo broke as part of a cross-channel TV campaign
running in all Charter markets. In the ads, subscribers daydream about what types of
services they'd like in a mythical future, and those dreams match what Charter plans
to deliver very quickly, such as information-on-demand over the television.
Even though Charter does not yet offer digital cable and
high-speed Internet access in all of its systems, the MSO chose to roll the ads out
everywhere, Blake said, because most of its systems have been rebuilt, and those that
haven't will be completed soon.
"We want to be forthright with our customers about
where we're taking them," Blake added. "We see this as an opportunity to
include them in the process."
Charter will carry over the new logo to all points of
customer contact, including direct-mail pieces, employee uniforms and trucks. And although
you can't see the logo on the radio, Blake said, radio spots will incorporate the new
"Wired World" tag.
The rebranding effort is particularly important in former
Marcus territories. "The challenges there are to quickly identify for the customers
and franchise officials who we are, what it is that we stand for and what kind of service
we'll provide," Blake said.
The MSO must also deal with customers' concerns that
Charter will make major changes to their programming packages.
"We try to allay their fears very quickly," Blake
said, and to let subscribers know that in some cases, their service may be improving.
"Charter's service is quite good," she added, pointing to the
company's high rating in a J.D. Power and Associates customer-satisfaction survey.
Blake said a name change often allows an MSO to create new
interest among former subscribers and "cable-nevers." "We typically see
more customers for at least two months after a name change," she said, adding,
"we've been known to take advantage of it for six or eight months."
Charter has been doing major branding work for the past
four years. The new umbrella campaign -- which will encompass acquisition and retention
efforts, as well as branding -- is the MSO's largest marketing effort to date. Blake
declined to put a dollar figure on the campaign.
The company began work on the new logo in January, starting
with consumer focus groups. Charter will also perform a customer tracking study to measure
the results of its new campaign.