Network access provider Openreach, which supplies broadband and Ethernet services to ISPs and businesses across the United Kingdom, has begun re-branding their entire fleet of engineering vans and other paraphernalia – seemingly in order to underline their independence from BT and to better reflect their strategy.
The re-branding exercise actually started, in a very low-key way, a few short months ago after Openreach changed the logo they use on their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.). Since then, it’s worked its way into various company documents, presentations and has now finally started to appear on their engineering vans (pictured – top).
NOTE: Openreach’s new branding has adopted new colours to make them cleaner and work digital first, ensuring they also meet accessibility standards (their previous colour scheme was still borne more of the print era).
The last time Openreach went through a re-branding exercise was in 2017 (here), shortly after Ofcom ruled that they should become a “legally separate” company. As a result, the old BT logo was removed, and they instead adopted a clean and simple ‘openreach‘ logo – often seen in purple or blue versions – to underline their independence. This was accompanied by the old strapline, “Connecting you to your network“.
The new logo focuses more on the ‘O’ of “openreach” and wraps it around their vans in one big letter. The O most typically comes in a bold dark green or blue, which has been split by lots of wavy lines. At the same time, they’ve also adopted a new strap line – “The people that make the net work“, which we’re told is intended to help make it easier to understand who they are and the role they play in digital UK infrastructure (though ISPs could easily claim the same strap line).
Interestingly, Openreach informed us that the change was necessary because their own research data had told them that their customers, general public and stakeholders weren’t clear enough about their strategy or purpose. Personally, that’s not something we’ve seen ourselves, but then most people who frequent ISPreview would naturally have a pretty good idea of what Openreach does, which may not be the same for everybody else.
Naturally, rolling out a new brand is a challenge and can be very expensive – especially when you have around 37,000 people (uniforms etc.) and 28,000 vans spread across the UK. This is why they’re taking it slow, at first, starting with the easiest bits (social media channels etc.) and being as cost-effective as possible (i.e. no big bang launch events), so as to save money for their full fibre rollout.
As for the new branding itself. It’s fine. It’s playing it safe. But the wavy lines remind me a bit more of tigers and Africa than fibre optic connectivity. The branding also seems to elicit somewhat more of a pro-business vibe than a consumer one, especially in its blue colourings on the van. But that’s just my own opinion.