The telecoms industry is learning how to be the nice guy, and there is a reason. A recent, slightly gloomy news piece looked at share prices in telecoms (and elsewhere) and wondered why telecoms stocks were depressed.
The obvious answer is they have to support the surge in traffic but cannot attract the extra related revenue. Roaming revenues have taken a huge hit as well, so the feeling is that telecoms will be stretched. Thus the fall in stock price.
Looking further into this, a recent article on brand values in telecoms gives an interesting twist. Verizon has the highest brand value and their stock price has not been as affected as much as that of AT&T.
Which makes you wonder.
At times like these, people not only do extraordinary things, they remember extraordinary things and support extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. And telecoms companies are (very politely) leveraging this new feeling.
At the end of this crisis customers will be loyal to those who were loyal to them and helped them out.
Some examples are already emerging.
Actor Kevin Bacon has been the ‘face’ of EE in the UK for a while now (and self-styled telecoms nice guy). His adverts have normally involved him being cool and windswept. The new advert has him sitting on a wall and opens with him saying ‘I normally open with a joke, but not this time’.
The promotion is EE giving unlimited free data to all NHS (healthcare) workers.
Telstra has provided unlimited data and promised to put a halt to planned salary cuts and lay-offs. According to a leading analyst, they are being ‘good corporate citizens but that will come at a cost’. He went on to say that the company will “probably come out of this with an enhanced reputation and an enhanced market share. They are, he said, a company for the times”.
The CEO of BT in the UK donated three months of his salary to NHS charities and promised that there would be no job cuts related to the crisis.
Other examples will emerge.
One thing we know about telecoms is that it is essential, after all.
One thing to think about once the world begins to emerge is how brand image will change. We were already on a curve away from corporate pillaging to corporate responsibility. Companies are realising the importance of loyalty and trust and it is seeping into their DNA. This can only accelerate.
It is possible that the telecoms companies that emerge from this best will be those that did the most to help us – particularly key workers – through this crisis. In telecoms, the nice guy might end up coming first, not last.