By By Sam Calvert, Consumer Director, GoFibre

6th March, 2023

Big challenges are what get me out of bed in the morning. You don’t join a start-up for an easy life. And when I joined GoFibre as Consumer Director last year I knew we had a good few to tackle.

The broadband market is dominated by the big players, with over 85% of UK customers signed up to BT, Sky, Virgin Media or TalkTalk. So how do you stand out amongst their noise, and create a memorable, relatable, educational brand, especially when broadband has become a hygiene factor?

Well I was inspired by our CEO, Alex Cacciamani, (a fellow Kiwi, which also helped), who founded GoFibre in 2017 when he moved from London to a small town called Duns in the Scottish Borders, and was frustrated by a chronically-poor connection. His philosophy, and now GoFibre’s, is that fast, reliable broadband should be available to everyone, not just city dwellers, so we’re focused on connecting towns and villages often forgotten by the telco heavyweights. We’ve got an ambitious plan to enable half a million homes to connect to full fibre in the next 3 and a half years, which comes with some big sales targets.    

When I wrote the pitch brief for a brand and creative agency earlier this year, I was looking for a partner that would relish this challenge as much as I do. We needed a big and disruptive creative platform, but rooted in our everyman values and local proposition, since our product isn’t readily available everywhere just yet. Our business model is based on demonstrating commercial viability before we can dig our full fibre cables and connect towns, so the marketing needs to ramp up interest location by location, but carefully manage customer expectations.

I’m a big believer in creative simplicity and trusting your gut when building a brand, and when I was presented with Digby the gopher it was hard not to get excited about his potential to front the GoFibre campaigns. I’m a big believer in fluent devices, too, having been the Marketing Director behind ”That’ll Do” with Plusnet Joe, who delivers their brilliantly basic positioning and distinctive Yorkshire identity. So having a charming character to bring to life the digging work that GoFibre are doing, and to make a virtue of it, was a big plus. It was really important to create a positive brand from the outset – not one that would go about bashing competitors, or making claims they couldn’t deliver on. I also loved the earworm of a gopher telling people to ‘go for it’, language that we’re already seeing being picked up freely. And it wasn’t just me; Guy & Co tested a number of different creative concepts with target consumers and Digby was a clear winner. My personal favourite quote from research; “It’s such a terrible pun, I love it!”

I also challenged Guy & Co – and our wider agency partners: Stripe PR, Lane Media and Clickboost, to go fast. In the alt-net goldrush you can’t hang about, and summer is primetime to connect broadband customers. We didn’t have the luxury of time (or arguably, budget) to give Digby the same CGI treatment as the likes of the Meerkats, but nor did we want to. Part of Guy & Co’s creative approach was about making him feel real to help create that charm – think Gordon from the broom cupboard. (Or so I’m told from people that grew up in the UK).  

Digby’s got a lot of work to do and hats to wear – we’re using him across both B2C and B2B, across a complex customer journey, and executed across very localised media plans as we roll out town by town. But we believe he’s up to the challenge, and are confident in why we picked a challenger agency in Guy & Co to partner with us.