Shaw takes consumer-centric approach to new brand platform

The telco places customer control over tech at the forefront in ads supporting its new BlueCurve offering.
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One year after the departure of Jim Little as CMO and the elimination of the role within the Calgary-based telco, Shaw Communications has taken the launch of a new tech service as an opportunity to unveil a brand platform that underlines its new customer-centric approach.

Last week, the company debuted creative for the new Shaw BlueCurve platform, consisting of an app that enables customers to more easily manage their connected devices and BlueCurve pods that help eliminate WiFi dead spots within the home.

AOR Rethink led creative and strategy behind the branding and platform, with assistance from Lexicon Branding on naming the BlueCurve product.

For customers familiar with the Shaw brand and its previous marketing campaigns, there are two notable differences about the new approach, says Katherine Emberly, president of business, brand and communications at Shaw.

The telco has done away with its six-year-old “bots” platform, in which animated robots played a central role, choosing instead to show Shaw customers in its commercials. The second change, and the biggest in the company’s eyes, is putting forward a more “technology-forward” value proposition, Emberly says. “This is our best performing and, frankly, best-looking technology that we’ve ever had. These are very modern devices, and you’ll actually see the technology in the ads, which we have not traditionally done.”

Spots for the BlueCurve app (which functions on a platform from U.S. telco Comcast) aim to demonstrate how the tech helps families take better control of their WiFi by allowing them to pause internet access on certain devices, create profiles and set parental controls to manage content and monitor time spent on connected devices. Other videos showcase the BlueCurve pods, hexagon-shaped pods that expand in-home coverage by creating a mesh WiFi network when plugged into indoor electrical outlets.

The launch of BlueCurve addressed customers’ growing needs for more than simply network speed, Emberly says. “We’ve heard loud and clear from customers that they love WiFi and technology, but it’s almost like a double-edged sword where they’re also feeling like they’re not in control enough.”

There’s been a shift away from the “speed race,” as some offerings now outpace what customers (and their devices) actually need, she says. “The conversation is shifting to a different conversation, and things like control and security are going to be big issues for consumers going forward.”

The new brand platform, reflected in this batch of creative, includes graphic-design changes and a new colour scheme. While blue remains a core brand colour, Shaw has introduced the use of fuchsia as well.

“We looked at what that technology would deliver to people in their homes, and realized that it was simplicity,” says Sean McDonald, managing partner and head of strategy at Rethink. “What you’ll see in this new brand platform is that Shaw is recognizing all that they do in our lives, but also giving consumers credit for what they do with these services.”

Shaw’s previous “bots” platform was created when television and longer 30-second spots were the focus of its marketing communications, Emberly says. But the use of animated characters requiring longer storytelling was deemed less effective as the company shifts towards 15-second creative and more “snackable content.”

Following Jim Little’s departure as CMO last April, coinciding with the departure of nearly a quarter of Shaw’s workforce through a buyout program, Emberly was promoted to president of its business unit and of brand and communications. Day-to-day marketing functions became the responsibility of Shaw’s three individual business units (wireless, business and consumer), with Emberly maintaining oversight and leadership of the overall brand platform.