Verizon : Communicating in code

A blog post shows a lighter side to the US telecoms giant and boosts media coverage for its criticism of government policy.

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The feature

In February, the US telecoms regulator delivered a victory for advocates of net neutrality, the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a series of new rules to prevent internet service providers, such as Verizon, from charging to speed up connections or blocking data from companies that do not pay.

On the day the decision was announced, Verizon wrote a post on its public policy blog entirely in Morse code to illustrate its point that the government was imposing ‘1930s rules on the internet.’ A ‘translated statement’ in PDF, clickable from the bottom of the post, is a news release – using typewriter fonts – spelling out the company’s position on the new rules: ‘The FCC… imposes rules on broadband internet services that were written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph.’

The takeaway

Large companies normally shy away from humour of any kind on their corporate websites (and in corporate communications in general), lest it be misconstrued. Blogs provide more room to experiment and inject some character into a staid corporate image. The Verizon blog post demonstrates companies can get away with more in blogs than they can on corporate websites, which are usually required to adhere to the company’s ‘official’ line.

It was also a clever way of getting noticed by the media – a number of publications including the Guardian, Huffington Post and Bloomberg led stories with the Morse code statement.
First published 08 July, 2015
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