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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vodafone Make the Most of Now

Vodafone Make the Most of Now!                                                                                                      
The Pug:
It’s said that a dog is a man’s best friend. Vodafone is using the Pug as symbolic of its strong customer service. Earlier during the days of Hutch, a possible differentiation based on strong network was possible. Now when having a strong network is perceived by consumers as almost of point of parity, the role of the pug has also changed from a symbol of a strong network to a symbol of superior customer service. This superior customer service would be there to help you in every possible way, at every possible place and at every possible time. Hence, you would be able to make the most of your time and mobile connection. This is how connect the pug connects with Make the Most of Now.

In the days of Hutch, people found the pug adorable. What Vodafone does is that it retains and pug and at the same time to distance itself from Hutch, it changes the storyline from "Where ever you go, our network follows" to "Happy to help".

The Zoo Zoos:

Vodafone invented the imaginary Zoo Zoo characters and their imaginary world to act as a medium through which they would talk about the Value Added Services of Vodafone. The characters through their antics and through the storyline which was based on a particular value added service, became so successful, that Vodafone is now using them to talk about all services which would add value to the life of a consumer and help him Make the Most of Now. An example for this is discounts on Roaming.

Though presently, the Zoo Zoos have been replaced by the Pug in all TV commercials, but they are being leveraged by Vodafone as a medium to engage with the TG through Facebook. Further, they are using the Zoo Zoos on their site to talk about special offers.

The connect of the Zoo Zoos is directly with the punchline of Vodafone.."Make the Most of Now"...They represent services that would help the consumer Do More, add value to his life and hence "Make the Most of Now". The Zoo Zoos are in fact are the essence of the Make the Most of Now proposition. They represent services that go beyond beyond plain Voice and SMS to offer something more to the consumer. These not only help the consumer in making the most of his mobile connection but also put a smile on his face.

Talking of putting a smile on our face, the humour element is very strong in the imagery of Vodafone. Talk about the Zoo Zoos or the Pug, though both have different roles to play in the communication of Vodafone, the one thing common among them is the humour and the comic element. Customer delight is the end focus of all marketing efforts. If making the consumer happy is the aim, then Vodafone achieves that just through its communication- the pug and the zoo zoos are sweet, adorable and they also make us smile. The propositions that they represent- excellent customer service for the pug and value added services for the zoo zoos, would only take this happiness to the next level.

Vodafone extends the concept of Make the Most of Now and takes it to the Next Level. Have a look at this screen shot from their site:

Ordinary things like browsing through Tariff Plans and Services are transformed into a fun activity. Getting information is one thing and smiling while doing a mundane task like browsing through a list of offers and services is really Making the Most of Now!!!

Hence two common elements come out about the Vodafone brand. The first that Vodafone is a brand that would go beyond the usual to offer services that would offer more and add value to the life of the subscriber. The second is that Vodafone is a brand which has a fun element attached to it, which would make us smile. Both these points together symbolize the punchline of "Make the Most of Now".

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Telecom brands

Telecom Brands

"A brand image is typically the attributes one associates with a brand, how the brand owner wants the consumer to perceive the brand - and by extension the branded company, organization, product or service."

Telecom sector brands like Airtel, Vodafone and IDEA are amongst the brands having highest recall and awareness in India. They are also amongst the most likable. Some of them like IDEA and Airtel have a clearly defined identity which remains constant across all their communication. Through his post I seek to examine the common thread which is apparent across some of these brands and also seek to lay a base to go deeper into a common thread which is not so apparent in one major telecom brand.

What is IDEA?

The IDEA brand is represented in essence by the punch line "What an IDEA!". It seeks to convey that here is a brand which would strive to find out innovative ways in which the mobile can positively enhance the life of the consumer. In this it goes beyond Network, Customer Care and other hygiene factors to go to the Next Level and seek to find different contexts in which the mobile can add value to our lives. One context is social issues. For example in one campaign, the politician seeks the opinion of the people through the mobile before taking a decision. In another, the problem of caste is solved when mobile numbers act as identity for people instead of caste which is divisive.

Similarly, the recent Talk when you Walk campaign, which explains how health problems can be solved just by talking while you are on the phone. The solutions which the campaign talks about might not be practical but what clearly comes out is that IDEA as a brand is innovative. The issues which it talks about are issues which touch the common person but the solution for all the same is the mobile.

IDEA as brand is represents innovation and the power of the mobile to go beyond being just a tool through which two people communicate and being a medium which touches and positively impacts the life of the common person in issues which are of importance to him.

What is Airtel?

If IDEA talks about the mobile touching the user in different aspects of life, Airtel sticks to basics and represents the most important purpose of the mobile, communication and a medium of providing expression to feelings and emotions. Again the same theme is represented in different campaigns of Airtel.

Similarly, Tata Indicom talks about Value for Money and Virgin Mobile symbolizes Youth and Wackiness.

What is Vodafone?

A couple of statements from reports on, about Vodafone’s new Happy to Help pug campaign:

Rajiv Rao, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy India, which is the agency behind Vodafone’s campaign, when asked about why the Zoo Zoo’s were dropped in favor of the pug clarified that “while the Zoozoos are the brand's newest property (and will continue to be used for campaigns in future), they are in no way endorsing the brand "

Note: A Brand’s property is not endorsing the brand.

Amar Wadhwa, planning head, Cheil Communications says "As a consumer I feel as if two different brands are talking to me: the 'pug' brand and the 'Zoozoos' brand".

Elements of the Vodafone Brand

The Pug

Talking about the pug first, it seems to be the most dynamic dog in history. From the Hutch days when it followed a boy 24*7 and stood for the promise of a strong network, it changed homes and morphed into a Vodafone dog and said Change is good. Most recently, it has changed loyalties and is now following a girl 24*7 and acting chivalrous (dog in shining armor!!!) by helping her out and proclaiming “Happy to Help”!

The Zoo Zoos:

The immensely lovable characters which were used by Vodafone talk about its Value Added Services. The Zoo Zoo through different commercials explained the concept of different value added services.

The Other Characters:

A screen shot from their site:

How do different elements like the pug, the zoo zoo and these cartoon characters connect with each other and with the Vodafone brand? What does the Vodafone brand stand for? Where does the punchine of "Make the Most of Now" fit in all this? I would attempt to answer some of these questions in the next post. Till Vodafone says...Make the Most of Now!