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CenturyLink Enterprise Now Lumen, as Old Brand 'Kinda Sounds Old'

CenturyLink will remain the brand for consumer and small business.

Edward Gately

September 14, 2020

5 Min Read
Rebranding
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CenturyLink is rebranding its enterprise business to Lumen Technologies to reflect how different the company looks from just a few years ago.

Lumen Technologies will help lead enterprises through the challenges and opportunities of the “4th Industrial Revolution,” the company said. This is a time when “smart, connective devices are everywhere.”

CenturyLink will remain the brand for consumer and small business.

Garrett Gee is CenturyLink’s – now Lumen Technologies’ – senior vice president of indirect sales.

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Lumen Technologies’ Garrett Gee

“We are excited to introduce Lumen to our partner community and bring them our platform for amazing things,” he said. “Our goal is to deliver the critical services that our partners and their customers need from us with a focus on digital delivery. We are moving forward with full attention on ensuring an exceptional customer experience for the solutions that are critical to help businesses harness the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution, including networking, cloud, security, and communication and collaboration.”

The Lumen platform helps customers deliver smart cities, retail and industrial robotics, real-time virtual collaboration and automated factories. It also powers business applications that require high-performance networking and security.

“The opportunity for our channel partners with Lumen in the 4th Industrial Revolution is extraordinary,” Gee said. “With this change, we are building on the successful elements of our storied partner program, while also rapidly evolving to improve and provide the platform and resources our partners need to win in today’s technology landscape. We look forward to doing amazing things together.”

Jon Arnold is principal of J Arnold & Associates. He said the rebranding is a “pretty big move, for sure, kind of like Lucent becoming Avaya.”

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Arnold & Associates’ Jon Arnold

“No guarantees it will work, but sure, Lumen sounds more modern, and CenturyLink by its nature kinda sounds old,” he said. “And wasn’t it CenturyTel before? To be fair, the CenturyLink name doesn’t conjure up much, so aside from familiarity, it may not be that radical, especially since it’s more than a name change. It’s also a new positioning as a technology company, so that’s a good reason to make this a clean break with their legacy past.”

Lumen Technologies “seems like a good name all things considered,” Arnold said.

“Other carriers have done similar things — look how clunky Sprint T-Mobile sounds in comparison, right?” he said “I think their fortunes will rest more on the market viewing them now as a technology company than just having a new name. If that works out, then the name change will definitely be a success.”

Consumer Broadband Overshadowed Enterprise

Mike Fratto is senior research analyst of applied infrastructure and DevOps at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Mike Fratto

“It’s a good move for Lumen to rebrand,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with the CenturyLink brand. CenturyLink is very well-known and very much associated with consumer broadband. Lumen executives said as much in the analyst briefing, and I agree. The strong brand association with CenturyLink’s consumer broadband segment completely overshadowed its enterprise business. This happens in all market segments, by the way.”

A strong brand in one segment can be a hurdle for a company when it wants to grow in another segment, Fratto said.

CenturyLink’s enterprise business, now Lumen, has been undergoing significant changes for the last few years to modernize every facet of its services business and it has been seeing a lot of success in its execution,” he said. “I think it’s a very competitive service provider. The rebranding to Lumen means …

… they can approach potential customers with their messaging unencumbered by the associating to consumer broadband.”

The downside is that CenturyLink is a very well-known brand and Lumen will have to reintroduce itself to the market and potential customers, Fratto said. But that’s a far easier task with more likelihood for success.

Partners, Customers to Benefit

TBI is one of CenturyLink’s oldest master agent partners.

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TBI’s Corey Cohen

“TBI is excited about CenturyLink’s enterprise rebrand to Lumen,” said Corey Cohen, TBI’s vice president of marketing. “The company has spent the last few years repositioning itself and assisting partners’ focus on both data and application solutions. The new brand promise is to advance business digitally, through an integrated delivery of networking, security, communications and collaboration services. And, their laser focus on edge compute and intent-based networking, as Lumen’s CTO puts it, to ‘further human progress through technology,’ we think will greatly improve both the partner and customer experience.”

Richard Murray is Telarus‘ COO and co-owner.

“The rebrand from CenturyLink to Lumen is a bold move to signal to the entire market that CenturyLink is more than a network company,” he said. “We’ve had one of our best years ever with them, and are excited to see what new opportunities emerge with Lumen and continue through Quantum Fiber. CenturyLink has been steadily working on evolving their systems towards more automation and this seems to be the culmination of those efforts. CenturyLink has historically been one of the industry’s strongest channels, and Lumen has reaffirmed its commitment to partners. We are excited about the prospect of a channel-focused provider that has strong capabilities in next-gen products and on-demand delivery. It has a massive upside for partners if Lumen can execute.”

Lumen Technologies says its worldwide fiber network infrastructure and complementary capabilities deliver competitive advantages to customers in four key areas. Those are adaptive networking; edge cloud and IT agility; connected security; and communications and collaboration.

Lumen Technologies also announced Quantum Fiber. It’s a fully digital platform for delivering fiber-based products and services to residents and small businesses.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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