Telus makes a social promise about the future

A new platform aims to better reflect the company's investments outside of telecommunications and purpose-driven work.
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Telus is updating its brand promise and creative imagery to carry a more modern message that better reflects its push into social capitalism and the breadth of what the company does, including its investments outside of telecommunications.

“We thought this was an excellent time to reflect on who we are and what we stand for,” says Jill Schnarr, chief communications officer for the company. “The reality is that for many years, we’ve been a purpose-driven organization, but it hasn’t necessarily been integrated into all of our messaging.”

While the ever-popular critters remain, Telus is updating its original brand promise, “The future is friendly,” with more active language – “let’s make the future friendly” – to instil it with a new purpose in the process.

The original message, devised 20 years ago, was intended to foster trust and goodwill among Canadians toward technology, says Jill Schnarr, chief communications officer for the company. At the time, technology was viewed by many Canadians with fear and distrust.

But technology has now become commonplace in everyday life. And amid the pandemic, with social and political unrest growing both in the United States and in Canada, Telus opted to update its former message, repurposing it as a call to action for the times, Schnarr says. Thus, the new brand promise was conceived – both to urge people to work together toward that better future, and also to better represent the work Telus is already doing to drive change itself.

“At Telus, social capitalism is really our strategy. We’ve decided that we’re going to leverage the best part of being a telco, but instead of investing in content, we’re going to invest in industries that we can help transform through our technology,” says Schnarr.

According to Schnarr, that work goes far beyond telecommunications. It also includes investments the company has made in healthcare and agriculture, elder care and smart home security. On the CSR front, it has several sustainability initiatives and its Pollinator Fund for Good, which provides funding to startups that align with its social capitalist values. Even on the telecommunications front, those services are being positioned as a way for Canadians to stay connected to each other and their communities – it has provided devices and services to those in need through its Mobility for Good, Internet for Good and Tech for Good programs.

By updating its brand promise to better reflect what the company stands for, Schnarr says Telus is positioning itself to better connect with consumers who are looking for companies that are actively investing in better outcomes.

“Customers want to do business with a company that is doing good, taking accountability and responsibility to drive change and operate responsibly,” she says. “Brands and businesses need to know they have an accountability to invest in and support our communities. I think it’s the new license to operate.”

The new platform is being launched with TV and radio spots, OOH, digital and social content and PR support. It worked with dedicated agency The Greenhouse (a collaboration between Cossette, Cossette Media, and The&Partnership) on creative and media, with The Pack (on behalf of National PR) handling PR and Response handling multicultural PR and marketing.