This is a very New York-specific story, but it contains a larger PR lesson that we’d like to share. NY1, pronounced “New York One”, is a 24/7 local news channel that is very helpful for those who want breaking news on traffic, subway delays, New York-area politics and more. It also includes some great talks shows, etc. But you get the point.
NY1 owner Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, is definitely one of the least popular brands among New Yorkers (just ask Twitter users and a certain Sir Patrick Stewart about its customer service record).
TWC–facing revenue declines as more customers cut their cords–is currently engaged in a battle with competitor Verizon Fios for market share. In order to convince customers not to switch providers, TWC is rebranding NY1, renaming it “TWC News” and changing the graphics, logos and theme music.
The point is to remind customers that Verizon does not carry NY1 and they’ll lose it if they switch. We have a feeling The Weather Channel won’t be too happy about this–and neither are New Yorkers, who are already registering their dissent online.
The lesson? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it just so you can one-up your competitors. The public really doesn’t care about your market battles, but they do care when you mess with a product that they like–especially when that product was perfectly fine without your dumb tweaks. We hope, at least, that they don’t drop anchor Pat Kiernan, because we love how he tries to hide his Canadian accent.