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Telstra’s social media team – where have the brand values gone?

October 20, 2010

For the American audience – Telstra are Australia’s largest and most prominent telecommunications company, they’re involved in everything and one of Australia’s biggest, most influential, and popular brands….

They recently posted this vid (re-posted below) on their YouTube channel profiling their ‘social media response team.’ Interesting to see how they do the social media thing over there from a professional perspective, but a bit worrying if this is how a major brand chooses to portray itself in the public space when it comes to social media. I have very high expectations of everything I see and hear from Telstra, and seeing a bunch of tshirt wearing IT geeks doesn’t fill me with confidence in how well they’ve thought this through. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for paying employees for what’s in their heads, not the way the present themselves, but in a public forum – presentation IS important, and Telstra has invested a lot of time and effort into making their brand what it is today.

For a highly professional organisation, these guys definitely don’t match the tone or the brand they represent. I’ve got no issue with that – they seem like decent people with undoubtedly the right skills to do their jobs. But to put themselves out in public like this makes me wonder if Telstra are trying to reposition themselves to keep generation Y happy at the cost of upsetting their corporate and baby boomer base…

I guess this is the risk big brands take with social media  – are your employees (who are social media savvy) presenting themselves with the brand values you’re spending so much time and effort to leverage in other communication forums? Is that no longer important though – maybe I’ve got it all wrong? Maybe big brands are willing to alter their brand values across different media? I think not.

Maybe this is part of a plan by Telstra to completely reposition their brand to appeal to netnerds sitting behind their PCs 12 hours a day playing 2nd life and doing nothing else but twittering and texting – but for big brands like Telstra, the real risk is this: who are they alienating by promoting themselves this way?

Deliriant Isti Romani (These Romans are Crazy!)

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