Are you brave enough to STOP people using your product?

Yesterday I saw the posters for T-Mobile’s new service "StreetCheck", which I think is the bravest branding idea I’ve seen in a long time.

If you go into a T-Mobile store, or online, they will check the T-Mobile network where you "work, play and live". If the signal is not good in any of these, they recommend you go somewhere else. That’s right, they send you off down the street to the competition.This is powerful on several levels.

First, its a great dramatisation of the brand’s mission to be more honest and open, something pretty daring for a mobile network. Check out the amount of small-print that goes at the bottom of the page in most bits of promotional communication.

Second, brand action speaks louder than words. This innovation addresses head-on the image that some consumers have of T-Mobile’s network not being as good as other brands’. This is a hangover from the days of One-to-One, which was re-branded T-Mobile. In fact, the network is good, and ironically is used by Virgin Mobile, who have the best network quality image in the UK for pay-as-you-go. Rather than trying to advertise they’re way out of the problem, T-Mobile are using service innovation and showing people how good the network is.

Third, this a great word-of-mouth generator. The network signal will be good 99%+ of the time, and all these people will probably tell at least a couple of people about their experience. And in doing so, have a big impact on the brand’s reputation for honesty and network quality.

Fourth, this is not easy to copy. It may seem easy, but there has been a huge amount of work to put the system in place and, just as importantly, train up the people in the store to use it.

Fifth, its another T-Mobile innovation using "ownbable descriptors": simple, memorable ways of saying what the product/service does instead of sub-brands. StreetCheck joins U-Fix, Flext and Mates Rates in the growing portfolio of services all working to the same vision of simplifying mobile communication.

Sixth, by advertising such an innovative brand-led service, T-Mobile stands out from the crowd of other mobile network brands flogging their latest price-led deals.

Hats off to Phil Chapman, the UK marketing director, and all the T-Mobile team.