Why Broadcast Australia undertook a rebrand

B2B communications provider playing integral current in Australia's current bushfire crisis talks about its local and global business growth and ambitions

Mention the name Broadcast Australia, and many won’t know what you’re talking about. And yet the infrastructure provider connects people across Australia and around the world, and has played a vital role in the current bushfire crisis. 

In Australia, Broadcast Australia delivers reliable network across metro, regional and rural areas, delivering broadcast services to 99 per cent of the population, and is looking to extend its footprint in the Australian telecommunications industry. Globally, it also delivers the connectivity and technology – cellular, Wi-Fi, broadcast, radio and IP networks – that digitally enable more than four billion rail passengers annually, across transit systems in New York, Hong Kong and Toronto, including dedicated public safety bands and connected public safety systems.

In times of crisis, broadcasters rely on its infrastructure to maintain their connection with citizens and emergency services teams rely on it to keep them informed. 

While becoming a household name is not in the organisation’s plan, it has undertaken a rebrand to BAI Communications Australia, to affirm its evolving market position. The rebrand is part of the company’s strategy to extend its service offering to existing and potential customers, drawing on its global experience designing, building, and operating communications infrastructure and networks.    

BAI chief executive officer, Peter Lambourne, told CMO BAI has been playing an active role in the current Australian bushfire crisis, highlighting the importance of the service it provides. It's working for example with the New South Wales telecommunications authority to operate and maintain the government radio network, which is being used by all the emergency services, ensuring those services stay on air as much as possible.

“In NSW, our people are working alongside emergency services teams around the clock to ensure their radio communications networks continue operating and deploying mobile assets into fire zones to maintain coverage in those areas. We are also keeping ABC’s emergency broadcast services on air nationally so that communities around the country can stay informed,” Lambourne explained. 

“I feel privileged to be working alongside the BAI Communications Australia team, more so in these times of need when we see how much what we do really matters; but also in what we have achieved to date and what we aim to accomplish over the next few years.” 

BAI has been in operation locally since 1928, and owns and operates one of the world’s most extensive transmission networks. 

“We are taking the opportunity to evolve our brand to better demonstrate the breadth and depth of our expertise. Becoming ‘BAI Communications’ reflects everything that Broadcast Australia has stood for and represents everything that we aspire to be, as we mobilise for another century of progress,” Lambourne said. 

“Our strong market position and reputation are supported by highly valued relationships and long-term partnerships with the ABC and SBS and, recently, Network 10 and Southern Cross Austereo. 

“Broadcast Australia was a really good description of what we do as a business. We're based in Australia and we were undertaking broadcast services for the ABC and SBS in particular, but also many of the regional TV broadcasters around the country."

Internationally, the company is currently bidding to replicate its mobile telephony and Wi-Fi in the New York subway, Toronto and Hong Kong into other areas. 

“Because none of that was to do with broadcast, we rebranded ourselves on a global basis as BAI Communications to reflect we are more of a communications infrastructure service company, rather than a broadcast centric one," Lambourne continued. “We also see opportunity for us here in Australia to build a similar strategy, a similar business to what we've done overseas and in New York, Toronto, Hong Kong and more, especially as we look at things like 5G. 

“We realised Broadcast Australia is not the best name because our clients will not be broadcasters. So we thought it was best to reflect where we're going as a business." 

Of course, as a B2B business, a rebrand is not so much about communicating with the end customer but communicating with telecommunication suppliers.

“All the branding when you're on the New York subway, for example, you'll see is AT&T or Verizon or Sprint. We’re the brand behind the brands," Lambourne said. “We only have a small number of key customers, the major broadcasters in the country, all the major mobile network operators and so we don't go out and do any mass marketing. 

“We work very closely and get very targeted with specific customers to try and deliver solutions that work for them. This may be a dozen or so really key customers for us in Australia."

Yet Lambourne admits as the telecommunications world continues to evolve, BAI must be ready for new opportunities and new customers it is not even aware of as yet. 

“With evolving technology nowadays and what's happening in the wireless communications world, it's important to be open to new opportunities and new customers that you haven't thought of yet,” he said. “It's particularly in the telecommunications side, because technologies are evolving so rapidly. What that might mean for us as a business is we will be having new customers who we have not thought of at this time. 

“We haven't seen the need to go out and spread the net wider as yet, but that will change, and we need a good foundation to build that presence in the market and awareness in the market."

As a group, Lambourne added BAI has invested much more in marketing globally over the last few years and taken a different approach.

"I think we're becoming more sophisticated, and while we don't ever see ourselves as a retail brand, how we build that awareness and knowledge in the B2B side of things is what we are looking at,” he added. 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.  

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