How to kill a brand

Telecom NZ have been deconstructing their brand over the past week. Ironically it was the addition of the Yahoo! brand that seems to have been the cause.

Migrating the Xtramail service to the Yahoo(Xtra) 'Bubble' service caused mayhem for thousands of customers - me included. To add insult to injury Telecom refused to answer their phone lines. I waited a total of more than 3 hours to have my calls answered. On one occasion after a wait of an hour or so A recorded voice told me that 'Due to high call volumes we cannot take your call. Please call again later..." which was followed by by a click and then the disconnect tone. Nice.

'Old news' I hear you say. Which makes for the perfect segue into part 2.

In the daily newspapers Telecom have written a letter of apology shown in a full page advertisement. Xtra customers are to receive a week of free broadband for their troubles. That's nice of them,…isn't it? Of course I didn't read the ad. I don't read the daily paper anymore. I quickly scan the news online from a variety of sources from the local NZ Herald to the LA Times and the Guardian. If it's on paper it's old news and an environmental disaster. I was only aware of the 'apology' when I saw it on the early TV news bulletin. Kevin Kenrick of Telecom was interviewed on camera. It was interesting is choice of words. He apologised for the 'negative surprise' customers had experienced. The gift of a week's free broadband was, he said, "a positive surprise".

As it happens I don't want surprises from my Internet provider. I want reliable, invisible, cost effective service. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Finally. Why take an ad out in a newspaper I don't read?
Surely Telecom know the email address of every single one of their customers.
I haven't received anything in my email.
(Though I have read that Yahoo!'s spam filters have been draconian and open-weave in turns…)

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