In Brief Featured

10:02am EDT July 22, 2002

Turns out, it wasn't all in the name.

Last year, a Worthington company called OCOM Corp. purchased the rights to reintroduce the Cellular One brand name in Ohio and Michigan-but not just for cellular service.

The company was banking on the recognition and respect of the Cellular One name to win over customers. Instead, the name hindered its efforts to market the company's local telephone service, long distance, cellular, paging, voice mail, Centrex, toll-free services and calling cards.

"We spent about the first 10 minutes of every sales call explaining we weren't just cellular," says Patty Flynt, president of OCOM-renamed CoreComm when New York-based CoreComm Ltd. purchased its assets in June. "It subtracted more than added to the equation."

Customer focus groups revealed similar problems.

"Basically they gave us the same feedback the sales people did: 'Cellular One is a great name, but when you knock on my door, I only think cellular,'" Flynt says.

In October, she dropped the Cellular One and OCOM names completely, opting instead to do all marketing under CoreComm.

Flynt doesn't expect much confusion now, she says, because the company didn't spend a lot of time advertising the Cellular One name in connection with all the services her company offers. But just to be sure, another customer survey was planned for late last month.

"What I want to do is test whether this awareness advertising really makes sense," she says of the company's recent multimedia blitz, "and whether we're running it enough that people are getting used to the name."