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Rebranding helps Ben Lomand advance with technology

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011

Mike McCloud, CEO of MMA Creative, addresses Ben Lomand employees recently in McMinnville. (Photo by Jesse Kaufman)

McMINNVILLE — Since 1952, the name Ben Lomand has been synonymous with communications service in the Upper Cumberland.

It began as the Ben Lomand Rural Telephone Cooperative, spurred on by the efforts of the Young Businessman’s Club which launched a crusade demanding modern quality telephone service for rural Warren County and the city of McMinnville.

Thus launched a story of determination that spread throughout the region. The residents first demanded in 1950 that Southern Continental Telephone Company, which served McMinnville, improve its service and offer that service in the rural areas. The company did improve service in McMinnville but said it would not be able to serve the low-density population in the county.

That’s when the effort was launched to make application to the Rural Electrification Administration to get a loan so many groups could form and become a cooperative. On Oct. 2, 1952, the Ben Lomand Rural Telephone Cooperative was incorporated and it has been in business ever since. The company’s headquarters remain in McMinnville and they now have offices in Sparta, Tracy City, Spencer, Beech Grove and Hillsboro.

With all of that history, the name Ben Lomand is certainly very well known in the Upper Cumberland region. But as times change, so do company services and strategies. That’s why Ben Lomand has been involved in a rebranding effort for more than a year. That effort was rolled out to the public on Sept. 1.

Prior to that, employees of the company were given presentations at various locations to familiarize them with the new effort — and name. The company is now known as “Ben Lomand Connect” and that will be visible on everything from uniforms to vehicles to coffee mugs.

Mike McCloud, CEO of MMA Creative, gave presentations to the employees in mid-August. MMA Creative, a marketing firm in Cookeville and Nashville, has been working with Ben Lomand on the rebranding effort, which includes a new logo. Account executive Casey Taylor Johns and Jesse Kaufman, MMA principal and vice president/creative director, joined McCloud for the presentations.

“Welcome to an exciting day for Ben Lomand,” said McCloud to the group gathered at company headquarters in McMinnville.

McCloud said Ben Lomand is “expanding and evolving” and that was one of the reasons the company began the rebranding effort.

The biggest factor in the expansion of the company, even through difficult financial times, is technological advances in communications.

“Technology has changed tremendously in the last five years,” said McCloud.

He said one of the reasons the word “connect” was added has to do with that lengthy history the company has to the area, including the relationships built over time by the company and its employees.

“You are connected to your community,” said McCloud.

He said three principles were applied when considering what Ben Lomand is all about: stability, service, technology.

Those principles, he said, will be part of the future marketing effort as the company spreads the word about the rebranding. Everyone in the company will be helping spread that word and talk about the many services the company has to offer.

During one portion of the presentation, McCloud asked the employees to consider how many new products the company has offered just in the last five years. Those ranged from security services to high definition television to the widely expanding area of social media. That, he said, is why the rebranding effort is so crucial as the company moves forward along with expanding technology.

You can find out more about Ben Lomand by visiting
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