TDS Telecommunications Corp., headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, provides telecom services across the Midwest. Brand awareness is nearly universal throughout much of Wisconsin, where TDS is simply the local telephone company. In the Twin Cities, however, where they specialize in voice, data, and managed telecom services for business clients, TDS is not well known. To gain better penetration in the Twin Cities market, TDS turned to Circadian.
We began by conducting a Brand Rhythm™ Assessment, a comprehensive evaluation of TDS’s prior marketing efforts, current competitive landscape, product offerings & target audience. This resulted in a Marketing Communications Plan that defined a positioning & messaging strategy for the local market. In the plan, Circadian identified a series of key messages that define TDS as technology-forward, business-focused & local. We advised the company to communicate in a consultative, professional and conversational voice. The MarCom Plan also set promotional objectives and established a strong marketing budget and calendar for the coming year.
As a follow-up, Circadian developed and administered a brand awareness survey, aimed at learning how TDS could better engage their target audience. From these survey results, we determined the specific product benefits that would most resonate with TDS’s customers. The research also identified the priorities guiding local decision-makers when they make telecom purchases and established a baseline for evaluating the effectiveness of future campaigns.
Following the recommendations set forth in the plan, Circadian created a number of marketing promotions, including print, radio & online advertising, and trade show graphics. While staying within the established corporate brand standards, the campaign used some specific visual cues to communicate the brand messages identified in the Marketing Communications Plan. The layouts are clean, with a lot of white space, as too much “busy-ness” would detract from the message. The images are warm and friendly, reflecting the polish and professionalism of a successful company. In contrast to previous efforts in the residential market, the images are realistic, and avoid any sense of goofiness.
Each piece of the campaign uses a hypothetical client testimonial—based on actual feedback, but without identifying and specific company—to convey the business value of the TDS offering, as well as the high level of satisfaction their customers feel. The ads also highlight a series of three “bullet point” services: Voice, Data, and Managed Services.
Building off this initial success, Circadian helped TDS promote a series of events co-sponsored with the Minnesota Wild. We created a large-format, digitally printed invitation for each event of the series, as well as a custom die-cut box with foam insert for delivering game tickets, VIP event passes and a souvenir business card holder hockey puck. For each event, recipients had to RSVP online to receive one of the limited gift boxes and tickets.
The boxes and invitations convey the high-end and exclusive nature of the speaker series, while balancing the unique aesthetics of the TDS and Minnesota Wild brands. The materials play up the hockey element, as well as the theme that Circadian created: “Business is a Contact Sport.” The invitation utilizes existing TDS brand images, which reinforce the messaging established in the previous year. The events were very popular—with more RSVPs than availability—and attendees were impressed by the intimate look at the business aspect of running a professional sports franchise.
In addition to building the overall awareness of TDS, the promotions and materials Circadian created have firmly established them as a leader in communications technology solutions that help their business clients achieve more. Circadian’s ongoing efforts and advice help to communicate the brand’s key messages, conveying the right information and engaging the emotions of TDS’s target audience. By embracing thoughtful, priorities-focused messaging over discounts & sales promotions, TDS is increasing brand awareness and growing market share.