The most powerful moment during Young & Rubicam vice chmn June Blocklin’s CTAM Summit session Wed was a video montage of cable, telco and VoIP commercials. It helped show how consumers are bombarded with messages of low monthly prices, bundled services and ‘our service is better than theirs’ offers. With so many similar messages, no company really stood out. "I’m not saying don’t be competitive, but look beyond it and offer something bigger," Blocklin said. She questioned what’s become a common practice in the cable industry—offering better deals to new customers than existing customers. "Existing customers are your best brand ambassadors," she said. "Do your customers feel anything for you? Would they brag about [you]?" Cable falls into the service goods category, which generally has much lower consumer appreciation than consumer goods brands. Service goods (telecom, banking, insurance) receive especially low scores for differentiation. If cable could find a way to better develop its brand, it might be able to thwart price wars. Service brands face sharp price competition from competitors—something that is not as true with consumer brands (think Nike), said Blocklin, a marketing vet of the telecom wars.

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