Trend

Creating brand awareness and looking beyond 2020

Scott Room, Director of Brand and Digital, Openreach on the power of connectivity and the work Openreach is doing to drive the UK’s digital future and growth.

Scott Room, Openreach

Director of Brand and Digital

Share


A couple of weeks before I joined Openreach back in April, the world turned upside down. Many of us were having to get to grips with conditions and terms we’d never really encountered before: social distancing, lockdown, self-isolation.

The power of connectivity

As the streets emptied and unnecessary travel was banned, it became apparent that a light was being shone on the importance of connectivity. Separated from loved ones in different parts of the country, or even just on a different street, families and friends turned to their devices to stay connected to one another.

If a spotlight was being shone on the idea and importance of connectivity, then a ‘full beam’ was thrown on the critical work we were doing at Openreach. As the UK’s leading digital network business, we are responsible for building and maintaining the infrastructure that connect homes and businesses to phone and broadband so, schools, hospitals, police stations and businesses large and small were completely dependent on us to operate.

Our engineers were granted key worker status and were on the streets 24/7 working hard to keep the nation connected.

Scott Room

A brand transformation

Back in 2018, as part of a series of commitments to Ofcom, Openreach set out to bring a new and independent brand to life, removing all ties to BT from our identity within three years. We transformed everything from the way we talk, to the way we act, allowing us to build relationships with all customers equally. We’ve since rolled out an extensive transformation programme, rebranding everything including more than 40 offices, nearly 28,000 vans and all communications channels, completing the process one year ahead of schedule. However, as a brand that could still be considered relatively new in 2020, it meant we had to overcome further, sometimes unforeseen, hurdles during the first lockdown.

Our engineers were granted key worker status and were on the streets 24/7 working hard to keep the nation connected. To make the public aware of our critical role, and to counteract a series of attacks on our engineers linked to bogus 5G conspiracy theories, we launched an ‘Openreach key worker’ campaign across the UK. The public needed to know and understand that if they saw one of our engineers outside their home, they were there for a very good reason.

The campaign was a success with 61 million social impressions and a place on Spotify’s list of the best examples of brand communication during the crisis. We were also recently granted ‘Superbrand’ status. It’s an honour given to brands that have established an expectational reputation in their field and are the best examples of brands leading the way in the UK.

Much of the brand’s success is down to the Openreach team’s continued hard work and commitment plus a considered emphasis on innovation and investment. We’re consistently seeking to deliver continuous improvement in everything we do and there are now over 35,000 people across the UK who are central to our success, keeping the nation connected day and night, rain and shine. And it’s not going to stop there as we’re actively recruiting for people to join us and be part of the next generation at Openreach.

Looking to the future

Our people are at the heart of our business and we’re committed to creating a more inclusive culture for our teams. Central to that goal is the launch of our new Pride, Gender Equality and Ethnic Diversity networks. These networks will be pivotal in creating a more inclusive culture that better understands the issues and barriers our people face.

Last year, the number of female apprentices who joined Openreach was higher than ever and our employment of Black, Asian and Minority ethnic (BAME) people rose to 17%. We’re determined to keep those trajectories going. We’ve also just launched a new digital campaign called ‘Watch Me’ aiming to encourage more women to apply for engineering roles. Five of our female engineers have shared their experiences working in what many consider to be a male-dominated sector and we’re hoping it will be thought-provoking and inspirational.

Connecting everyone in the UK to ultrafast Full Fibre broadband by 2025 could unlock job opportunities and create a £59 billion boost to the UK economy.

Scott Room

Looking ahead

We know from research we commissioned last year by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr) that connecting everyone in the UK to ultrafast Full Fibre broadband by 2025 could unlock job opportunities and create a £59 billion boost to the UK economy. Three hundred million commuting trips could also be saved each year, with three billion fewer kilometres travelled by car. Personally, I think these numbers are truly staggering.

At the heart of everything we do, we’re powering future connectivity and we’re fully committed to helping realise these benefits and driving the UK’s digital future and growth. We’re investing billions of pounds to extend our ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network and are aiming to reach 20 million premises by the mid-to-late 2020s.

The Full Fibre network will be transformational, providing a consistent, reliable and fast service that will be the backbone of our economy for decades to come. We’re excited by the opportunities this presents and proud of the fact that we’re building a strong and resilient network that will set the UK up for success.

Guest Author

Scott Room, Openreach

Director of Brand and Digital,

About

Scott Room, ‘Director of Brand and Digital’, joined Openreach in April 2020. His most recent role was with BT where he was Head of Digital Product and Propositions, Enterprise and previous roles have included Head of UX and Design at BT TV and Sport and Senior User Experience Lead at TalkTalk.

Related Tags

technology Digital