Today Telecom NZ becomes Spark New Zealand. It is a big change for the company.
I worked with Peter Kerr of Stick on a feature series about the name change at Scoop: Igniting the Spark – Why Telecom Wanted To Change. Spark sponsored the story and gave us access to executives, but didn’t interfere with the editorial.
As part of the project I met Jason Paris who is now Spark GM Home, Mobile and Business. At that meeting I got answers to two things about the name change:
First, the risk of killing off a well-known brand that took years and millions of dollars to build.
It turns out the Telecom brand had effectively become a barrier between the company and the customers it most needs to win over for its long-term prosperity. You can read more about that in the feature, but the simple answer from Paris was that not changing the name presented a bigger risk.
Spark not unique
Second, I worried Spark wasn’t original enough. That it would struggle to stand out from the other companies, products and organisations both in New Zealand and around the world with the same name. This is why many corporations choose a unique, made-up name.
In particular, I feared it might be difficult to find in Google. I tried this when the news first broke and the New Zealand telecommunications business didn’t show until about the third page of search engine results.
Of course the flurry of activity, Google advertising, other marketing activity, the news and other noise quickly changed this. As you can see from the image at the top of the page, just hours after the name change, the phone company dominates the Google NZ search results.
Goodbye Telecom NZ, it’s been great writing about your business over the years. Welcome Spark and good luck.