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Telecom looking to the future with new name

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Business News | Friday February 21 2014 9:00

Telecom looking to the future with new name

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UPDATED 1:40pm - Telecom has announced it is changing its name to Spark.

The telecommunications company, which was formed in 1987 after splitting from the New Zealand Post Office, has decided to ditch the iconic brand as part of a series of changes to reset the company for the digital future.

Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter said Spark better reflects what the company is today and their new direction and aspirations, which has moved far beyond the home telephone.

"It is all about digital services, fibre, mobile, data, cloud, entertainment, apps, or whatever new technology is around the corner.

"Spark is a word that has life and energy, and links to the creativity of New Zealanders, the modern tech economy and our desire to enable our customers to thrive.

"It will carry with it our widely recognised logo, which is generally referred to as the 'spark'."

Spark New Zealand Limited will be the new name for the parent company, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Limited, while Spark Digital Solutions will be the new name for Gen-i, which provides solutions for business, enterprise and government clients.

The name changes take place later this year, and in the mean time the company will continue to trade as Telecom and Gen-i.

The change was announced as part of Telecom's half-year results, which showed the company gaining 200,000 mobile customers in the past 12 months.

Consumer and business CEO Chris Quin says the new name better represents what the company wants to be.

"We thought it was time to change, and to really grab some new energy from that and make a new a different promise to our customers about what we want to be for the future."

Mr Quin says the new name better represents what the company wants to be.

"We thought it was time to change and to really grab some new energy from that end, make a new and different promise to our customers about what we want to be for the future."

He says with the re-christening comes a complete overhaul of its brand and services.

"You can't just change a brand and have customers hope that will mean something different. I think today people are very discerning (and) they can see through things like that."

They've also announced a new internet-delivered TV and movie service called ShowmeTV.

Mr Moutter says ShowmeTV is an example of how the company is changing by delivering new services he says their customers want.

"(It) offers all New Zealanders an exciting new choice about how to get their home entertainment, which we think represents the future of how people will access content."

Changing its name could prove to be a costly business for Telecom.

Brand strategist Brian Richards isn't so sure the move is a wise one.

"It's only the beginning of a huge expenditure to actually go down this path. So what they're announcing here is a change cost of $20 million, but the embedding cost will be significantly more than that."

Mr Richards says the name itself lacks creativity.

"It's a name that lacks a New Zealand context. It's a name that is out there in the common domain. It doesn't really capture creative New Zealand. I think they could have been far more imaginative if they really wanted to use a name to go down that path."

"Can't shrink our way to success" says chairman

Telecom is convinced an overhaul of its brand and image will help give it a much needed financial boost.

It's announced today a flat net profit after tax of 167 million dollars for the six months up to the end of December 2013.

However chairman Mark Verbiest says the company's focus on a clear-long term strategy should produce some better results in the upcoming year.

"We can't shrink our way to success. We will only deliver sustained long-term shareholder value through growth."

File photo / NZ Herald

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