How to brand your towerco
TowerXchange is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

How to brand your towerco

Senior marketing leaders from across the industry share what they keep in mind when building their towercos brand

patrik-michalicka-r3iAqHb7JWs-unsplash (1).jpg

In the past few years, as the tower sharing model via neutral hosts has exploded in popularity across the globe, over a dozen new towercos have been formed. These new players are either MNO-led carve outs that are looking to promote their independence and neutrality, or else backed by a financial sponsor who are looking to win market share, and get the best return on their investment. As these towercos are formed, what thought goes into their name, logo, brand and corporate identity? Furthermore, why have we seen a trend of existing towercos refreshing their image and placing more emphasis on marketing as of late?

TowerXchange spoke to our members to reveal all the details.


Why does a towercos brand matter?

In a past life, towerco marketing might have been perceived as a somewhat overlooked function. With the vast majority of revenue being driven by a handful of MNO tenants, there was no need to focus on classic objectives such as lead generation.

Recently though, competition has picked up as more MNOs offload tower assets and numerous towercos are vying for build to suit contracts and the remaining SLB opportunities. Re-establishing what makes them stand out is becoming increasingly important. Towercos customer bases are also expanding. As diversification into digital infrastructure and private networks are being driven by 5G technology, towercos are opening themselves up to working with non-traditional tenants, all of whom have to be compelled to work with a specific provider and remain a loyal client.

In some cases, having a strong and recognizable brand also helps with building new sites by reducing complaints and disputes with local population. Optus or Orange’s B2C nature grants them a familiarity and an understanding as to why a site would be put up. The towercos born out of those two operators, TOTEM and Indara, do not enjoy the same luxury.

This leads to more disputes and negative feedback, so raising their profile and helping local communities understand their mission to provide better connectivity can actually streamline the deployment of sites.

In other parts of the world, the opposite might be true. In contentious locations, it can be better to remain as anonymous as possible to avoid drawing attention to oneself. In Myanmar for example, towercos are less likely to be making bold statements about their missions to connect the unconnected, while their cell towers are the target of sabotage attacks against government infrastructure. Likewise, in some rural markets, there are examples of villages who try to solicit money from companies that are building towers in and around their land beyond what is agreed to be paid to landlords in lease agreements.

Towercos in these countries are still trying to win on the ground support, attract investors and preach their unique qualities to customers, but the ways they achieve these goals are vastly different.

“Our ambition is to open our market to all highly valuable partners: landowners, institutions, and business.” TOTEM explains.

Ultimately, towercos want to be seen not as passive real-estate players, but enablers that are actively driving the next wave of connectivity across the globe. TOTEM’s driving force behind its brand identity encapsulates this perfectly: “We have chosen a pedagogical approach and a messaging house that can flex according to the client. In our messaging and ambition, we want to place the brand – and towercos in general – at the center of the digital revolution. We allow imagery and tone that go outside the rational benefits of connectivity, because the impact of shared infrastructure will be felt by everyone, everywhere.”

In addition to attracting new businesses and making interactions with landlords easier, towercos are also working on their brand image to attract new talent to the industry. Annabel Helm, Director at ITW’s Global Leaders' Forum recently joined the TowerXchange Global Towerco Talent Circle.

“We have an invisibility problem in the industry” Annabel said, while discussing work she has done with MNOs and Digital Infrastructure Providers on their recruitment practices. “Everyone is competing for digital skillsets. Certain roles in telecoms (and towercos in particular) face a challenge where people don’t even know companies exist, let alone consider them employers that can further their careers.

The HR leaders involved in the GTTC are all working on promoting themselves at careers fairs and promoting their talent development initiatives to attract valuable people to their organisations.


What’s behind a logo?

A brand’s logo can mean a lot. As the foundation of a brand’s image, it is important that the logo chosen reflects the values and messages the company is looking to push forward. Take Indara for example, key to its new brand is the intention to support and promote a move away from tower infrastructure into broader digital infrastructure in the Australian market.

Everything in Indara’s logo, from the font to the imagery portrayed, is designed to be as far opposed to the angular themes that are found in classic towerco logos. The font is soft with curved edges and the image next to the name is more spherical than triangular. This was a conscious decision to break the association between Australia Tower Network and Axicom (the two separate businesses that combined to form Indara) and the tower structures themselves to help communicate the company’s wider mission.

EDOTCO refreshed their logo at the end of 2022. “Our logo communicates our purpose ‘Shaping Future Connectivity’ where the unique ellipsis represents three shapes evolving in specified steps toward the future - starting grounded and solid as a square, ending agile and nimble as a circle.” Group Head of Corporate Communications and Branding, Noreen Sabrina tells TowerXchange.

“This goes to show that EDOTCO Group are constantly evolving to serve and adapting the needs of the nation and our customers for equitable next-generation connectivity.”

Of course, more practical considerations should be made as well. “We designed a meaningful, pedagogic logo by taking into account our brand identity and also accessibility on digital, print, metals and plastics.” TOTEM says.


How is brand identity built and embedded?

A brand and corporate identity does not start or end in a meeting room with a decision on which colour pallets to use. Towercos are united in their belief that their employees are living embodiments of their brand and do everything they can to ensure that the people who make a company work are given the tools to put that brand across to the market.

This is reflected in material ways, such as the lanyards, tote bags, t-shirts, notebooks, and enamel pins which proudly present the new brand that EDOTCO commissioned for employees. But far more important is ensuring that the team understands and can reflect through their actions and conversations the core message a brand is trying to convey.

“We invest in regular internal awareness sessions to ensure that all employees are familiar with and understand our brand guidelines and messaging. This helps to ensure consistency in how we present ourselves to the public.” Sabrina explains. “We believe that our employees are our most valuable ambassadors, and their understanding and commitment to our brand is essential to its success.”

Cornerstone, a UK based company also provide toolkits on brand guidelines and core company values to their employees and external suppliers. Furthermore, new employees receive training on how to represent the brand during their onboarding.

“We also encourage our employees to share social media posts and encourage them to tell their story, sometimes through video interviews.”

It is also important for a regular review of brand guidelines to make sure they stay fresh and relevant to the industry. At EDOTCO Sabrina stresses the importance of “conducting regular audits of EDOTCO’s branding and messaging to ensure that they are still relevant and effective. We are always looking for ways to improve and evolve our branding to stay current and competitive in the market.”


How do you judge a successful brand?

It can be hard to evaluate the success of a towerco’s brand value due to a number of reasons, primarily due to its subjective nature. Firstly, the effects of branding efforts may not be immediately apparent and can take time to materialise. It can also be challenging to determine the extent to which branding efforts are responsible for changes in customer behaviour or perception, as there may be multiple factors at play.

When it comes to embedding a new brand into the market, as in the case of the newly launched Indara brand, online metrics have been adopted by their marketing team to measure the uptake and awareness of their brand. “We are tracking the volume of traffic and engagement across various channels including our website, social media and online media assets and we can see that it is growing all the time,” says Amy Kiu, who heads up the marketing function at Indara.

“We’ve invested in digital campaigns that intentionally drive awareness of our new brand and we are continually monitoring activity and engagement via analytics. As awareness increases, we can see traffic and engagement from our old brands declining.”

Apart from driving new brand awareness, Indara adopts a wholistic view to measure how their customers judge their brand through their Voice of the Customer (VoC) program. “The overall reputation that we have as a brand and the manifestation of that in the trust that we have with our customers and stakeholders, is all measured by our Voice of the Customer program aimed at continually collecting feedback from our customers to improve the way we do things”

Under VoC, Indara has adopted several initiatives to assess the sentiment that customers have towards their brand, and better understand their perceived strengths and weaknesses to know how they stand in the competitive landscape.

“As a business, we’re committed to customer-centricity and striving for constant improvement in customer experience and service. The Voice of the Customer program is designed with an outside in mindset, constantly collecting feedback to shape our strategy and prioritise CX initiatives.”


Conclusion

Ultimately, there are many different considerations that go into creating a brand and corporate identity for a towerco. Farah Zuber, Senior Director at Redhill works with towercos to help them re-evaluate their storytelling and look at the brand they are building from a broader perspective”

“The main challenge towercos face is the different stories they need to tell to different stakeholders.” Zuber says. “When we are talking to the industry, they know about the importance of infrastructure, and we can focus more on the value that a towerco unlocks. For raising image and brand to the general public, a different approach is taken. We need to identify the relevancy of what a towerco does to their daily lives and use this as a starting point for all of our communication with them.”

Simplifying this message and spreading it far and wide should be the starting point of a towercos branding efforts.

Gift this article