Ericsson evolves focus with fresh branding, company vision

Ericsson is looking to play a role in what it sees as a hyper-connected world, including new business models, entertainment and learning experiences and tackling climate crisis. (Getty Images)

Ericsson on Monday announced a new company purpose and vision, alongside refreshed branding, as the vendor prepares to capture future emerging opportunities within the connectivity business.

Specifically, Ericsson’s stated purpose is: “To create connections that make the unimaginable possible.”

The new company vision is: “A world where limitless connectivity improves lives, redefines business and pioneers a sustainable future.”

“For almost 150 years our technology has transformed nearly every sector of society. The networks we build have already connected billions of people and soon they will connect almost anything and everything,” said Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm in a statement. “This era of hyper connectivity is going to help to address major global challenges like climate change and digital inclusion.”

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Scenarios of a hyper connected world where the leading network equipment supplier wants to play a role include connected learning and workforce training, redefining entire business models with things like real-time data, reimaging entertainment with sense-driven internet via VR and AR experiences, and tackling the climate crisis with technologies like AI, 5G and IoT.

“Our vision imagines the future we can help to create for people, business, and the planet,” says Stella Medlicott, SVP and head of Group Function Marketing and Corporate Relations, Ericsson. “Connectivity is key to reducing human impact on the planet and will help bridge the digital divide, but we also see the potential for our technology to touch even more parts of society. 

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And the vendor said 5G platforms today are a fundamental first step. Ericsson is forecasting 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions and 60% global population coverage with 5G by 2026.

Roger Entner, industry analyst and founder of Recon Analytics, told Fierce that the best way to grow is to move into adjacent businesses, which is what he sees Ericsson shifting toward with the announcement.  

“Ericsson needs to show a vision for growth, because the equipment market on itself is flat or maybe even declining,” Entner said. “Especially with more vendors coming in and O-RAN.”

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The Swedish vendor has focused on a cloud-native network portfolio but has been less enthusiastic about open RAN gear than some like Finnish competitor Nokia.

The refreshed branding and outline of future scenarios is, in part, about showing a role for Ericsson beyond just a supplier for service providers. Changing business models, tackling climate crisis, and other areas mentioned above are ones that Ericsson will want to participate in, expand and grow from, Entner noted.

“I think the brand and the positioning is where the business will then go,” he said. “They need to go.”

Other vendors like Nokia have vocalized their own focuses, such as AI and software.

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“That’s where they’re investing, where [Nokia] thinks that the puck is going,” he said, adding that all vendors do this to grow business and be successful.

One cautionary note, Entner mentioned is that Ericsson had challenges in earlier efforts to move into related business segments.

“They expanded quite significantly into adjacent markets and then struggled,” he said.

Ekholm in 2017 first announced a strategic turnaround plan including streamlined operations and increased investment in core areas after the Swedish vendor faced challenges with slowed 4G buildouts and increased competition.  

Ericsson on Monday called out the successful completion of its financial turnaround in 2020, with a reinforced business strategy and growth ambitions in core business segments and the enterprise space.

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As part of the new campaign Entner expects to soon see examples of how the network equipment supplier helps limit global warming and rive decarbonization as part of the whole campaign.

Indeed, alongside the launch, Ericsson plans to roll out a series of stories, using print and digital media, to showcase what the future of so-called “limitless connectivity” can look like and what Ericsson can do in that world.

“I look at it as, this is what Ericsson stands for and this is how we want to evolve,” Entner said of the move.