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McClatchy-Tribune  08/13/2014 1:43 PM ET
Sprint launches branding campaign; Framily plan stirs internal division [The Kansas City Star :: ]

Aug. 13--Sprint Corp. is launching a national marketing campaign aimed at business customers even as its consumer Framily campaign has stirred some internal division.

Sprint Business is getting a "multi-million dollar marketing campaign," according to the Overland Park-based wireless company's announcement. The company said it is branding it business services separate from its consumer offerings.

The idea that Sprint's campaign hopes to instill is that its mobile technology and collaboration can keep employees "engaged, productive and working better together so the business can grow faster."

An online pitch emphasizes that Sprint can provide all that technology stuff as a service, relieving business owners from a lot of effort and expense to do it on their own.

Wednesday's announcement is the first marketing push under newly named chief executive officer Marcelo Claure. Claure replaced Dan Hesse on Monday.

Although on the job only a few days, Claure had told employees Monday that he has been involved with strategy since joining Sprint's board of directors in mid-January.

The business marketing campaign involves highly targeted television, top national print and digital custom content and advertising with social extensions, according to Sprint. It uses the tag line "For companies with people in them."

Sprint Business' kickoff comes as media analysts are waiting to see what happens with Sprint's consumer marketing campaign that focuses on its Framily discount plans. Customers get a bigger discount by attracting new customers to the company's network.

Last week, Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son said the Framily plan is being looked at for some changes because it had failed to attract enough new customers. He made the comments during a public review of second quarter earnings at SoftBank Corp., the Tokyo-based company that he founded and which owns 80 percent of Sprint.

"We are internally divided over the Framily pricing plan because it's not easy to understand for consumers what (is) the benefit of the Framily," according to an interpreter.

To hear the comments, queue up the video at 39:50.

A recent article by quoted marketing sources saying the Framily plan is too complex and that the company needs a simpler value pitch.

Sprint launched the Framily plan discounts early this year but has since said that other wireless carriers' pricing has left Framily less competitive than it had been. The company also is testing new pricing plans but hasn't announced any changes.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @mdkcstar.


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