For years Internode were happy with their geek image. Having nurtured (intentionally or not) a branding as the IT world's Internet Service Provider (ISP) of choice helped them establish a brand with serious credibility.
This week founder and majority-owner Simon Hackett started inviting brand agencies and advertising firms to begin pitching for the job, estimating the cost of the work at between $500,000 and a low seven-figure sum.
He told the Australian, "at the moment our brand persona is very much about being the geek's ISP of choice, the technically astute ISP that you get told about by your friend rather than see on a billboard. [but] we need to broaden our market appeal to become a more viable mental competitor to (Telstra) BigPond."
Striving for mainstream recognition can be problematic for brands who have built themselves up with niche branding.
The primary risk is a loss of credibility amongst their core client base. The risk for Internode is that their most dedicated clients lose a sense of community around the brand, while a new audience (who don't come from an IT background) lack any underlying connection to them. Stay tuned.