The World According to You

by Britton Manasco | Jul 18, 2006 | Thought Leadership

AT&T has recently launched an impressive thought leadership campaign. Dubbed "The World According to You," the elements of this campaign are showing up online and in print. The initiative is all about the power of networking and addressing business challenges in "today's networked economy."

Obviously, the old Ma Bell has some new solutions that address the challenges you might face if you were, say, "Daniel." That's the distinguished, graying, contact center manager I found standing on an airport runway on page 16 in the most recent issue of Fortune Magazine.

Not sure what the runway is about. But Daniel -- and there are other ads featuring "Jane" and "Maya" and others -- assures us that "Dynamic Networking from AT&T" can address some key business challenges. Daniel, for instance, informs us that he has an integrated, intelligent contact center that "can't falter in the face of the unexpected. And there's nothing I like less than losing customers on my watch."

And what is there, after all, to like less? As wierd as Daniel looks standing out there on the runway in his dark blue suit, I have to say that I find this campaign intriguing.

The campaign and its url: builds on the GSD&M campaign that AT&T launched to celebrate its merger with SBC featuring the Oasis tune "All Around the World." But now it's getting into your world.

In fact, there are lots of little thought leading goodies to help AT&T get deeper into it. You are encouraged to step forward in order to "get exclusive thought leadership based on your preferences." If you click on the ads appearing at sites like the Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Information Week, you will be taken to a landing page that is loaded with interesting stuff.

First, you are offered "exclusive, complimentary access to relevant information on AT&T's Networking Exchange." I have to laugh at the "exclusive" invite because it is so patently otherwise. However, elsewhere on the site, the company refers to it as a "complimentary membership" (and drops the phony "exclusive" language). I like that much better.  Anyway, it's a nice package you are being offered.

The brief form you are required to fill out inquires as to whether your key business priority is "managing risk," "enhancing productivity," "managing change" or "improving CRM." Presumably, this information will be used at some point to deliver more targeted emails or newsletters. At this point, there are a number of targeted white papers and interactive benchmarking tools designed to address interests associated with each one of these "business challenges."

What you get immediately is access to a newsletter co-authored with the Economist Intelligence Unit (first article: "Competing Globally: The Risks and Rewards of M&A") and other content. For instance, there's a nicely crafted white paper "Making the Case for Enterprise Mobility" and other brief pieces showing  how AT&T addresses potential disasters such as Hurricanes and the Bird Flu. (There's even a video on "Preparing for Pandemics.") Beyond that, it introduces the reader to AT&T's complete set of white papers and resources on "the convergence of networking technologies."

This is a content-rich example of how companies can grab prospective buyers at a point of intial interest and draw them into their realm of solutions. Having captured the prospect's email address, the constant delivery of targeted content through relevant emails and newsletters represents AT&T's opportunity to stay in the prospect's peripheral vision -- making itself a clear option to consider when one sees a possible linkage between a business challenge and "dynamic networking." Its monopolistic past long since passed, AT&T recognizes the key point: It's now all about you and your world.