The CSP as a digital lifestyle brand
Communication Service Providers (CSPs) have been pursuing digital transformation for many years to meet the growing demands of their customers. According to a study by Analysys Mason, the ways in which they have done so, have fallen into two main approaches. There were those who opted for a high impact end-to-end approach, and those who took the more conservative phased approach. But what both had in common was that it typically took them many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get even partial results.
The opportunity of the digital brand
Then along came the digital brand. This seemed to provide a solution to one of the biggest problems facing CSPs; how to provide a more efficient way of reacting to the increasingly digital and personalized needs of their customers, and to fend off growing competition from greenfield operators unencumbered by legacy software and operations.
Digital brands, or sub-brands, enabled operators to pursue a multi-brand strategy and to create a tailor-made, often fully digital solution for specific customer segments. As a result, many CSPs have been able to significantly enhance their brand positioning and value for their customers.
A number of CSPs jumped at this opportunity and according to TM Forum there have been over 200 digital brand launches globally, and research by Omdia shows that those that have succeeded have generated strong subscriber growth irrespective of the success of the main brand.
Timing is everything
However, not all have succeeded with the reason perhaps being that for digital brands it is all about timing. As the telecommunications industry continues to experience another wave of digital transformation, the world is also enduring a global pandemic. COVID-19 has continued to push digital transformation to the forefront, but also driven consumer digital adoption and further increased the need for digital services. This, together with the economic fallout that will be felt for years to come, now makes the digital brand an even more attractive strategic move for service providers.
The digital brand of today
With the renewed focus on digital brands, we are also seeing a shift from targeting a specific customer segment with them to using digital brands to create a new identity for the operator as a lifestyle partner of the consumer. This allows CSPs to appeal to a new set of customers they would typically not be able to attract, and to monetize the relationship.
There are a number of things that the digital brand of today needs to offer in on order to enable the CSP to become a lifestyle partner for the consumer. These include:
- A simplified telco experience - Offer simple plans (no contracts, limited options, wireless) with full omni-channel digital engagement
- Hyper-personalization - Provide curated partner content and services to meet the lifestyle needs of consumers including personalized offers using AI/ML to drive continuous user engagement with the brand
- Fast time to market - Enable marketing teams to easily roll out new partners, content, offers and promotions on a daily basis
Nokia is helping customers become a digital lifestyle partner with a solution built around our cloud-native Nokia Converged Charging system that provides a nimble, focused business stack that is optimized for the digital brand of today.
So what's next?
According to the Harvard Business Review, "durable brands are adaptable brands". CSPs who push themselves to be more innovative and creative in the ways they interact with their customers will be the ones who will succeed in the long term.
Digital brands provide CSPs with the opportunity to experiment and innovate in a relatively low cost and low risk way. Utilizing the agility that comes with new technologies as well as the openness to partner ecosystems, CSPs have the chance to meet the digital needs of their customers and effectively become a digital lifestyle partner for their consumers.