Media Relations: BT shifts message in quest to be 'cool'

BT is using a global media drive to cast itself as innovative and 'cool' in an effort to kill off its perception as a slow-moving former monopoly.

The campaign will position BT at the forefront of technological innovation and demonstrate its ability to lead a changing telecommunications environment, as it transforms its network to broadband delivery.

'This global innovation PR campaign will drive people to think of BT as cool and innovative by showcasing the development work we are doing in a compelling and exciting way,' said Gemma Harman, BT Group Chief Technology Office director of strategy and media .

Bite Communications will manage the PR campaign which seeks to exploit an increased investment in producing innovative products and services. This is spearheaded by the roll-out of its '21st-century network' that will replace phone lines with IP-delivered multimedia services by 2009.

BT press officer Adam Liversage said BT was the first 'incumbent' telecom in the world to deliver voice through IP networks. He identified tech-savvy 18 to 30-year-olds as important targets of PR activity because they lacked preconceived ideas about BT.

Innovation would enable the firm to 'spread the focus beyond telecom, business and IT writers', said Liversage, to reflect the wide spectrum of its audience.

He added that it will promote the overall innovation and vision of BT as much as product developments. 'There will not always be some gadget that you can put on the cover of a magazine,' he said.

Bite will aim to raise the media profile of BT staff working on technology development, such as Group CTO innovation experience manager Adam Oliver.

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