Since Telecom and Chorus became separately listed companies in 2011, a hell of a lot has changed.
Telecom became a retailer, and that retailer became Spark in August last year.
Since separation there’s been a change in pace and in focus, Spark chief executive for home, mobile and business Chris Quin says.
“We’ve adopted a daily retail rhythm, and our customers are now front and centre when it comes to all business decisions.”
He says while the journey to fully-fledged retailer is not complete yet, Spark is moving fast.
“If you look at how quickly we’ve moved this year to deliver new products to customers…and if you look at how brand perception has changed over the past year we have definitely made progress,” Quin says.
Working in a notoriously fast-moving industry is a key challenge.
Quin says it’s almost impossible to predict what will be next, but they can try to predict what will be important to customers.
For example, they know that having the best network is “crucial”.
Customers now rely on network quality for a myriad of things in their lives, from communication, entertainment and creative expression to the organisation of their schedules and their health, Quin says.
“Think of that feeling when you arrive at work and realise your smartphone is still sitting at home...Delivering customers this ‘whole of life’ experience is a big part of where our future growth lies,” Quin says.
For Spark a big part of 2014 was changing brand perceptions, and while the name change presented a few teething problems, attitudes are now changing.
Quin says clarity in leadership and a “relentless focus on action” is what’s driven the change.
“These principles have underpinned the cultural transformation that took place as we moved from Telecom, a legacy landline business, to Spark, a customer-inspired digital services company.
“It’s a big shift and the journey hasn’t been easy, but we’re now seeing the results flow through in terms of improved brand perception and increased customer numbers.”
Spark’s 2014 strategy included partnering with global brands like the NBA, event booker Live Nation, Event Cinemas, Facebook, Twitter and Spotify.
“All of these partnerships have been amazing when it comes to delivering benefits to our customers, and building brand preference, and just being a bit cooler,” Quin says.
Now, more and more, Spark is going to be a “listening brand” that keeps things simple for customers, Quin says.
“When you’re innovating in the digital services space, keeping things simple is vital…Keeping our offers simple is a constant challenge because the technology and our systems can be extremely complex, but it’s something we have to get right for customers.”
This story was originally published in NZRetail magazine issue 736, March 2015.