App-based telco hinges brand recognition on experience

Circles.life is investing in its brand ecosystem in Australia in order to drive up brand recognition. Here's how experience lies at the heart of those plans

Many marketers talk about the experience they provide around their brand’s products and services. But for one emerging telco, the brand, service and experience can’t be separated.

Circles.Life is a Singapore-based telco that operates on the Optus network in Australia. Since launching locally in 2019, it has grown its subscriber base to more than 100,000. The company differentiates itself through a digital service model almost entirely managed through an app and has been likened to the Netflix of telco.

For the past eight months, responsibility for the brand’s development in Australia has rested with head of marketing, Emilie Chell, whose career includes stints in life insurance, property, hospitality, and banking.

“It is an amazing opportunity to be able to deliver a brand from scratch, to be able to really look at an audience and say it is incumbent on me to understand exactly who you are and what you want,” Chell tells CMO.

A key component of the Circles.Life experience flows from the recognition that customers’ experience of the brand is not restricted to fonts and colours but flows from every touchpoint with the service. Hence, she says it is vital when delivering a digital service to always remember that each subscriber is a person.

“There are people at the other end that want to feel engaged,” Chell says. “It is about demonstrating to customers we understand them and what is important to them.

“We want to be a part of what is meaningful to them, and we want to hear from them and come back to them to show them that we are part of their world.”

Circles.Life recently announced the appointment of Cummins&Partners and media agency, Mediahub, to help the telco ramp up its brand recognition in Australia.

“For us it is not about slapping a logo on,” Chell says. “We are looking at things from people’s circles of interest and really trying to be a meaningful part of people’s interest circles. Right now, what we are working on is making sure our messaging really resonates with them from an emotional perspective.”

One of the key reasons for the appointment is to achieve customer growth ambitions Chell describes as high. However, where while the telco generally targets would-be customers in the millennial 24-39 age bracket, Chell says that audience has broadened significantly.

“It is that mindset more than an audience,” Chell says. “It is the mindset of people who want that simplicity, transparency and convenience.”

A key reason why Chell believes Circles.Life’s appeal has expanded has been the Covid crisis, and subsequent accelerated uptake of digital services across Australian society.

“What businesses expected to happen in the next ten years happened in 18 months,” Chell says. “Audiences that wouldn’t have entertained an app-based telco now wouldn’t have it any other way.”

As the company evolves, Chell says she will keep looking for new ways Circles.Life can add value for customers.

“The way that our business is built using modern technology allows is to continue to develop and optimise and to deliver more and to deliver better at pace,” she says.

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