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Home » Re-establishing BT’s leadership position in the UK
When EE burst onto the UK mobile scene in 2010, it earned a lot of respect from technology industry influencers. With very clear messaging, strong storytelling, and a series of UK ‘firsts’ in terms of technology deployments, EE rapidly gained ‘leader’ status.
Its market momentum culminated in its acquisition by BT in 2015. Although the newly formed entity was clearly still the biggest in terms of UK subscriber numbers and network reach, its overall engagement levels with influencers, post transaction, had reduced. BT decided to address this proactively, engaging CCgroup to re-energize its influencer communications and firmly re-establish itself as the UK’s leading converged network operator.
CCgroup and BT developed a multi-pronged strategy to demonstrate BT’s leadership credentials across a range of areas. The first area of focus was the future, specifically the future of BT’s network. Our objective was to:
Establish BT’s network vision as the most advanced, compelling and complete in the UK
Our success would be assessed based on levels of influencer engagement and coverage of the announcement, with the aim of the story being ranked as a top positive BT Group story for the period, as measured by Kantar.
First of all, we needed to work with stakeholders across BT Group to bring together the network vision in a way that was consumable to external audiences. This meant working hand-in-hand with BT’s Consumer Network PR team to develop key messaging and content – slide decks and speaker notes, Q&As, press release, blog content etc.
With a lot of potentially dense information about deeply technical topics to share, we decided that a virtual event, combined with a long Q&A and follow-up briefings, was the best way to go. This was supported by informal conversations amongst key influencers and demonstrated BT’s commitment to both engagement and transparency.
We took the time to test the messaging and content with a handful of influencers, making subsequent adaptations to ensure the story landed well. There were a number of strong commitments – firsts in the UK telecoms sector – woven throughout: 5G connectivity solutions anywhere in the UK by 2028, a full converged network by mid-2020s and retirement of 3G services by 2023.
The event was led by BT Consumer’s CEO and BT Networks’ CTO, with a range of subject matter experts on hand for the Q&A and subsequent deep dive interviews with media and analysts.
In terms of influencer engagement, more than 40 media (international business, national and trade media) and industry analysts attended the session – roughly 80% of the key influencers in the space. More than a quarter asked questions and tweeted throughout. In the days following the session, we arranged a further dozen follow-up briefings with subject matter experts. One journalist even tweeted: “Good session from BT. Appreciate it when operators share plans and communicate like this. And sounds like more to come. Thanks.”
From a coverage perspective, the event directly delivered 72 items of coverage with an online readership of 2.21bn, 1.83m estimated coverage views and an average domain authority of 73. The story was shared nearly 900 times across social platforms. The angles chosen differed significantly – most led with our 2028 5G commitment, with a good percentage focusing on the ‘sunsetting’ of 3G and the impact on consumers.
In the month of July, this campaign ranked as the most positive BT Group announcement, as tracked by Kantar. But perhaps most importantly, launching our network vision has demonstrated BT’s leadership, credibility and transparency, while providing a platform for further, more focused communication.
“This was a significant and important announcement that took months of hard work to put together, but it delivered almost more than we could have hoped in terms of engagement and coverage,” said Alex Jackman, Network Communications, BT Consumer. “It’s the first major milestone in a programme of activity that we’ve planned with CCgroup that will demonstrate to our industry and customers the leadership position BT has in UK telecoms.”
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