Cable and Wireless Communications, who closed a US$1.85 billion acquisition of 100 per cent of the equity of Columbus International Inc. inclusive of debts in an acquisition valued US$3.025 billion, announced on Wednesday their intention to drop the LIME brand Caribbean regionally and adopt The Flow brand.
LIME stands for landline, Internet, mobile entertainment, has survived for more than six years, created back in 2008 to replace the Cable & Wireless Brand which had become synonymous with bad service, often referred to as ‘careless and worthless’. The LIME name was meant to give an image of Friendly meet, fun, and excitement – a play on the Caribbean word ‘lyme’, which connotes high-energy partying.
An in-depth customer research conducted across the region in December 2014 by an independent company revealed that Flow already has “significant brand equity in the largest Caribbean markets.” The research also found that Flow has a higher customer recommendation/net promoter score – a customer loyalty metric – than LIME and other competitors; and that Flow delivers 25-35 percent higher customer satisfaction in key markets, said the communications director, who works out of CWC‘s operational hub in Miami. “LIME customers ranked
Flow higher against positive brand attributes, including innovation, value for money, customer-focused, going the extra mile,” she said, quoting the survey findings.
According to Silvera, Flow customers already have a strong brand image association with positive attributes, including innovative, refreshing, forward-thinking, progressive, ‘a brand I can associate with’ and customer-focused, as revealed in the survey.
Phil Bentley, CEO of C&W Communications said, “This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for us. With feedback from our customers and team members, we have refined our portfolio of brands to ensure they really represent the strengths of the combined group.”
He added, “Flow, with its bold blue colour, captures the essence of the Caribbean sea and sky, and is renowned for innovation, technical excellence, and great customer service. It is time to say ‘goodbye’ to our old friend, LIME, as we look forward to defining new levels of customer service and product innovation under the refreshed Flow brand. We will be rebranding our stores, our vehicles, and our uniforms to Flow, and we plan to ‘paint’ the entire Caribbean blue.”
In the wholesale and business markets in which the company operates, Bentley said, “C&W Communications has been a trusted company throughout the region for over a century. It was the first company to lay subsea cables in the Caribbean and across the Panamanian Isthmus. Our research, conducted with business customers, indicated deep confidence and trust in the C&W brand, in terms of reliability and resilience in our markets, whilst meeting the increasingly complex needs of our business customers.”
The CEO also stressed in the release, “We are committed to creating a combined group with a new culture of innovation and technical excellence, backed by major investments, putting our customers at the heart of our business.”
LIME’s Director of product and process, Eugene Nolan, said the merged company will continue to create opportunities for more development and the introduction of new products.
“This merger really helps us because we’re going to bring the best of the Columbus group, who are a relatively new group, but the best of their processes and technologies and our existing processes and technologies. We’ll merge those together to deliver an unrivaled and unparalleled customer experience,” he told CNS Business.
The Branding Changes will play out regionally as follows:
Columbus Communications / Cable & Wireless => Cable & Wireless Communication
The Corporate Banner, CWC operates in 16 countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America under main brands Mas Movil in Panama, LIME in most of its Caribbean markets, BTC in The Bahamas, and Cable & Wireless in Seychelles. Columbus operates in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Curacao under the brand name Flow, and in Antigua under the brand name Karib Cable. It also operates Columbus Business Solutions.
C&W Business Solutions / Sonetel / LIME Business / Columbus Business Solutions => C&W Business
The Business Facing Brand
Columbus Networks/JVCO => C&W Networks
Wholesale submarine and terrestrial fibre-optic cables of C&W Communications. Columbus Networks operates throughout 42 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean regions.
The brands will be launched across the region on a phase by phase basis over the next 18 months as new products are introduced. CWC has yet to receive approvals in a small number of markets and therefore cannot yet begin the integration process in those locations.
In addition, CWC said it will retain its consumer-facing brands, Mas Movil and BTC in Panama and the Bahamas respectively.
Jamaica has approved the merger of local assets; Trinidad and Barbados signaled their conditional approval in March, but a decision by other ECTEL jurisdictions – Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines – are still pending. CWC previously announced that it will be investing US$1.5 billion in the integration of the companies.