Spectrum is new, but means zilch

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

29 March 2017

Spectrum just looks like any other cable network

What does Spectrum mean? The dictionary says, “a band of colors.” The new cable system, a merger of three networks, means zilch.

Spectrum is the new name for the merger of Time Warner Cable, Charter and Bright House Networks. And it’s been rolling out ads introducing the new company over the last few months.

“As a brand, however, Spectrum means nothing. Nada. Nil. The introduction ad just explains that there’s a new network.”

As a name, Spectrum ain’t bad. A band of colors, “produced by separation of the components of light by their different degrees of refraction,” nicely describes a cable TV company.

As a brand, however, Spectrum means nothing. Nada. Nil. The introduction ad just explains that there’s a new network.

Spectrum misses a grand opportunity

Instead of redefining what this new venture is, the new network just announces itself as a regular ole cable company. The features are simply table stakes. Crystal-clear image and sound. Faster internet. 90,000 employees.

Well, DirecTV, DISH Network and any other cable system have the same things. So, even though the ad says Spectrum is “redefining what a cable company can be,” there’s no proof of that. It’s just bigger. Even the “fastest growing” claim is bunk. That’s just a result of the merger itself.

Overall, this is a missed opportunity in a changing environment.

Naming is always a difficult proposition for a brand. A new name must be meaningful, memorable and believable. But, as in this case, the name can’t carry all the meaning. That’s too much to ask. You must give it meaning. How does Spectrum reflect me, the customer? What does it say about how the new network is different?

Without giving the name meaning, the new brand becomes noise. It’s just corporate speak, and as easily forgettable as any other name.

In the coming months, Spectrum could give meaning to its brand. But I doubt it. Nothing in the history of Charter, Time Warner Cable or Bright House suggests it will go the next step. It will simply be another, albeit larger, cable TV company.

Big whoop.

See more posts in the following related categories: Bright House Charter Spectrum Time Warner Cable


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