Telecom's Chorus takes centre stage

By Helen Twose

Telecom is looking to hit a high note with the launch of Chorus, its network management business.

Chorus chief executive Mark Ratcliffe said the announcement yesterday of the name and branding was an important step on the way to being operationally separate from the other Telecom businesses - officially due to take place on March 31.

Under the Government's planned split of Telecom into three separate divisions - retail, wholesale and network units - the company was required to create a distinct identity for the network unit.

Ratcliffe oversees the management of Telecom's network and provision of access to companies - including rivals - seeking to run services over the network. He reports directly to chief executive Paul Reynolds,

Ratcliffe said the new name reflected that the business was not the star of the show, but still an important part of delivering telecommunications services to end customers.

"They can't provide services without us, but we're in the background. It's the electronics they add to our basic infrastructure that provides the services customers want," Ratcliffe said.

Ratcliffe said the brand, formalised at a board meeting before Christmas, went through a long process before settling on a name which reflected the business and was available.

"We wanted something that reflected we're a customer-centric organisation, something that reflected we were collaborative," said Ratcliffe.

AUT marketing and advertising lecturer Dave Bibby said it was an "interesting decision" to create a brand with no obvious links to Telecom. It represented a blank slate onto which the company could create an identity.

"Perhaps they considered that was a more positive option, to start again if you like, than to tie it to whatever perceptions people have of the Telecom brand," said Bibby.

Ratcliffe said the company's contractors made more than a million visits to homes each year and it was important the logo was recognised and trusted.

"It's a nice word. It's hard to think about Chorus as being anything other than positive and enthusiastic," he said.

The new brand will appear on 1700 field service vans used by Telecom's main network maintenance contractors, Transfield and Downer EDI.

Telecommunications Users Association head, Ernie Newman, said the company will need to actively promote the new logo to the public.

A similar rebranding of British Telecom's network division in 2006 to Openreach initially caused confusion among people expecting the familiar BT van to arrive to fix faults.

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