On February 12th, 2010 Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) launched a new brand name for its consumer wireline products- which includes high-speed internet, television and landline phone service - dubbed: XFINITY. Promoting “More Entertainment”, “More Choices”, “More Control”, ”More Speed”, “More HD” and the promise to “transform your TV”, XFINITY premiered in 11 markets where Comcast has completed infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the increases in bandwidth. Like many marketing launches, much of what is promised are future services.
From Comcast’s FAQ:
“More recently, we added thousands of TV and movie choices for consumers to watch online at fancastxfinitytv.com and are adding 100+ HD channels and 5,000 HD choices On Demand. As these products evolved, and as new cross-platform features were being introduced, we wanted a new, more unified product name for these new products as we roll them out across the country.”
While Comcast has not revealed costs associated with the re-branding, the scale of the campaign, which includes television ads (including Winter Olympic spots), Radio, Print, Interactive, and Direct Mail, is impressive. (Just ask someone who lives in one of these 11 markets).
We investigated the effects of the campaign and rebranding on both Comcast.com and the newly launched Xfinity.com. The chart below shows the percentage change in weekly unique visits to both Xfinity.com (red bar) and Comcast.com (blue bar) indexed to the week of the XFINITY launch (week of February 7, 2010). (Click to enlarge)
- Four weeks after the launch of the brand, Xfinity.com’s weekly unique visit traffic had increased over 300%
- Comcast.com saw substantial growth in its weekly unique visit traffic in the third and fourth weeks after launch (increasing nearly 50% since the launch week)
Since all ordering remains on Comcast.com (users who click on order links on Xfinity.com are sent directly to Comcast.com), the time lag in the Comcast.com traffic spike would make sense. After becoming more aware of the brand and shopping for services at Xfinity.com, more traffic would then flow through to Comcast.com for ordering. This may not be the case, however, as the percentage of Xfinity.com traffic that also visits Comcast.com in the same session has declined from 30% in the first week of launch to 22% four weeks later.
Are visitors just kicking tires at Xfinity.com? Perhaps – as the launch focuses on less tangible benefits, visitors may be waiting for more of the features of these new products to become available before making a switch. There could be something else in the consumers’ mind, however. While one can make the connection between the XFINITY brand moniker and the product – infinite entertainment options across multiple formats (TV, computer, tablet, phone, etc.), the elephant in Comcast’s room is its reputation for poor customer satisfaction. The American Customer Satisfaction Index has scored Comcast in the bottom two Cable TV providers for the past 9 years.
Can a brand facelift (or new face) help alleviate Comcast’s past struggles? I’m pretty sure they hope so. In fact, they are putting the issue front and center on Xfinity.com:
“All XFINITY services are backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee. And you’ll enjoy prompt, courteous service whenever you need help.”
Of course, this begs the question: Is Comcast’s XFINITY brand launch more strongly tied to legacy issues rather than the new vision of entertainment and media delivery it’s pitching? Only Comcast knows for sure, and it remains to be seen how the market will react after the dust settles from this initial launch.