Telecom to Spark – moving from Icon to I can

PRINZ members were privileged to hear from Andrew Pirie, GM of Corporate Relations at Spark New Zealand last night on the iconic brand’s transformation from Telecom to Spark in August this year – moving from Icon to I can.

Attendees heard insight into the initial planning, subsequent phasing of communications, specific timing of announcements, the ‘internal before external’ comms and considerable ‘war room’ set up both at announcement and launch. In thanking Andrew last night I described the transformation as ‘conveyed with a beguiling simplicity’. In fact, in best practice PR and communications, the detail that takes place behind our work is what makes it appear simple.

SPARK2In the early stages of the brand transformation, the then Telecom spoke with its counterparts at Z and ANZ, learning from their experience and, in particular, the focus on getting the inside right first. For me, the sharing and collegial aspect of corporate leadership in New Zealand came through in the anecdote.

Talking through the results, Andrew said ‘this is what we’ve learned so far’, the ‘so far’ SPARKsentiment resonating with me. As we know, communications is a cycle so evaluation and planning don’t really stop when done well.

Finally, a ‘Thanks ATM’, the brainchild of consultancy Sherson Wills pulled on my heart strings. With a pensioner getting a $35,000 homelone refund (every bill she’d ever paid), to a family getting a TV and a young adult receiving thousands in tertiary education, this ‘digital tardis’ was fun and memorable, created impressive earned media, aligned with the launch strategy and allowed the brand to take the lead by thanking Spark’s customers early on in the process.

The campaign as presented by Andrew presented well-planned public relations at its best on a scale not often seen. Thanks Spark for the opportunity to hear about lessons learned on your incredible journey.

View Andrew’s presentation: How our customers inspired the change to Spark.

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