Comcast to rebrand its services as Xfinity

Company has struggled to rebuild its reputation

February 06, 2010|By McClatchy-Tribune

PHILADELPHIA — — The Comcast cable guy and his truck are getting a new look.

Comcast Corp. said this week that it would rebrand TV, Internet and telephone services as Xfinity this Friday to signal that it isn't the same old company.

Comcast will remain as the corporate name, but the company will emphasize Xfinity in advertisements and on 24,000 service trucks and thousands of employee uniforms.

The new brand name will appear in Comcast ads around the time of the Winter Olympics in Baltimore and 10 other markets, and will then appear in Comcast's cable franchise areas in other parts of the country.

"This is a pretty big moment, where we are upgrading every product area," said David Watson, executive vice president of operations.

He said the new brand name communicates Comcast's product upgrades and innovation.

Comcast officials said the new brand name will not change any customer's e-mail address. The new name will appear eventually as a logo on the Comcast TV guide and Web sites, and will also appear on customer bills under headings for different services. For example, instead of being called Comcast Internet, it will refer to Xfinity Internet.

Xfinity seems to position the company to compete with Verizon Communications Inc., which markets its TV and Internet services as FiOS, and AT&T Inc., which uses U-verse. Cablevision, the New York-based cable company sells its services under the brand Optimum.

"Verizon has FiOS. Comcast now has Xfinity. It's rebundling it in a high-tech package. You are rebundling an improved product, an enhanced service," said Marc Brownstein, president and chief executive of the Brownstein Group, a Philadelphia brand communication, public relations and advertising firm.

This rebranding comes as Comcast has struggled to rebuild its reputation because of poor service and problems with its network that resulted in telephone and Internet outages. Its customer-satisfaction rating is among the lowest in the industry, but has improved slightly in the past year.

Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said the rebranding was not an attempt to distance the service from the Comcast name. "This is about our product. It is about providing our customers with products that just keep getting better."

Claes Fornell, a business professor at the University of Michigan and head of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, said Comcast has improved its satisfaction ratings lately, but that the Comcast name "still has some baggage."

He said of the new name, "I'm not sure whether it will stand out. Comcast stands out."


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