BT revamps brand after restructuring

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William Calarese
VP-marketing, BT Americas
Company: BT Group
Years in current job: 3 years
Quote: “It’s important [a customer’s] experience with BT is the same whether they’re in Tokyo, Europe or North America.”

BT Group came out of the millennium with more than a few broken parts. Its Concert effort to offer global communication services in conjunction with AT&T Corp. had dissolved, its debt load was overwhelming and its image with business customers was tarnished.

BT first addressed its business, restructured and rebuilt. Then, about 18 months ago, it began marketing again, refreshing its brand identity completely and telling customers about its ideas for a "digital networked economy."

"Senior decision-makers were aware of BT in the traditional context, but we were more than a telecommunications company," said William Calarese, VP-marketing, BT Americas, who joined the company three years ago. "Our marketing goal is to challenge the current conception of BT and move us to the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Accenture and IBM as providers of good, sound business solutions in networking and IT global services." Its BT Global Services unit operates in 136 countries and also offers international carrier services.

To that end, this year BT spent almost $50 million globally, with $2 million specifically earmarked for U.S. marketing efforts. While that may not sound like much, Calarese said BT got more for its money by creating a very targeted campaign. In September and October, it began with a concentrated burst of print including The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek to reach senior executives. (The ads were created by Joseph Khan, who also directed several music videos for Brittany Spears and Destiny's Child.) Direct and online followed, as well as outdoor advertising in airports such as Washington Dulles International Airport.

"Our customers are all international global companies with large IT and global network needs. It's important their experience with BT is the same, whether they're in Tokyo, Europe or North America," Calarese said.

BT plans another concentrated business campaign after the holiday season, with emphasis on key strengths such as security and network outsourcing.

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