There remains only one priority area - to be close to customer needs Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone

There remains only one priority area - to be close to customer needs Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone

Author | Priyanka Mehra | Thursday, Dec 22,2016 9:24 AM

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There remains only one priority area - to be close to customer needs Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone

Reliance Jio’s launch may have changed the dynamics of the telecom industry in India, but this hasn’t deterred Vodafone’s spirits.

The telecom major also took home a Gold metal for its 'Winning 4G race without 4G' campaign under the telecom services category at the Effie awards last week.

“The good news is – there’s never a dull moment in telecom in India, and this year, even more so. I just see the huge opportunities that exist for Vodafone to keep raising the game on serving our customers in simple and effortless ways. India is one of the most competitive telecom markets globally, and hence, I have been neck-deep in leading my teams to make sure that we focus single-mindedly on understanding our consumers and communicating propositions that are relevant to them.”

Shares Siddharth Banerjee, SVP-Marketing, Vodafone. In line with this thought, over the past few quarters the brand has launched the  Vodafone App (with the ZooZoos), brought Vodafone Supernet into India (with our Pug and the award-winning Supernet #BeSuper campaign ), executed their biggest ever IPL Campaign and launched segmented offerings like  Vodafone U (for the Youth) and Vodafone Flex (for Mass Pre Paid customers).

Banerjee reveals that bringing back the Pug and ZooZoos has been extremely positive for brand Vodafone as “it relived old memories, hence further strengthening connect with the consumers.”

“There remains only one priority area – to be close to customer needs, especially when we have intense competition in the industry,” he adds.

Edited excerpts from a freewheeling chat with Siddharth Banerjee, SVP-Marketing, Vodafone on the changing face of the Indian telecom industry, Vodafone’s strategies to drive network and the key focus areas for the brand going forward….

What were the insights behind bringing back the pug and the Zoozoos? Was this part of the brand’s strategy to combat the popularity of Airtel’s 4G girl? How has this worked?

One of the hallmarks of a strong brand is that you can dip into the root strengths of the brand and pull out some of the actions and insights which made the brand powerful.

Similarly, our Pug and ZooZoos are two  of the most loved icons in India’s advertising and marketing history and have established a strong connect among consumers with the Vodafone brand.  Research has shown that the endearing Vodafone pug has had one of the most impactful connects with the Vodafone brand symbolic with our network. Hence, our communication strategy for launching Vodafone SuperNet was to highlight the benefits of our seamless network & service experience and who better to announce it than ‘Cheeka’ the pug!’

We have used ZooZoos very sparingly to communicate simple and innovative messages. ZooZoos are extremely loved characters and our social listening indicated that consumers are very always curious to see what the ZooZoos do next.  We found an opportunity to bring back the popular Zumi Army to engage with the consumers and showcase key features of the all new My Vodafone App. Similarly, while ZooZoos were not part of the television campaign during Vivo IPL 2016, they were an integrated part of our #BeSuper campaign. Vodafone partnered with Twitter to create a Super ZooZoo emoji linked to the hash tag of #BeSuper which complemented the larger campaign of Vodafone Supernet. 

Bringing back the Pug and ZooZoos has been extremely positive for brand Vodafone - it relived old memories, hence further strengthening connect with the consumers.

The telecom industry in India today is extremely dynamic and evolving specially with the Advent of 4G and Jio Launch, how do you grapple with this on a daily basis?

We are very excited about the longer term prospects for the industry, as customer appetite for high speed data grows rapidly, and companies look to embed mobility into their corporate strategies. Our strategy adapts to fit to, and shape, a fast-moving environment. But at its heart is our consistent commitment to differentiation through investment in our network and services.

Continuing our customer first approach, we have modernised and upgraded our entire network across the country to Vodafone SuperNet™, empowering customers to enjoy a superior network experience and remain confidently connected at all times for all their voice and data needs. As a sign of confidence in our network, and as a part of our Vodafone Delights campaign, we have introduced a series of new innovative products and services including International Roaming Packs, 10 minutes free talk-time, 67% more benefits on existing data packs, unlimited roaming and voice calls plus 8 GB data on New Vodafone RED Postpaid, etc. Additionally Vodafone 4G customers can enjoy a 3 months access to FREE TV, Movies & Video on Vodafone PLAY. So, we keep delivering both innovative and value to customers.

What is Vodafone doing differently on digital and social to increase affinity and engagement?

Digital is less about digital marketing but understanding that we are marketing to the consumers in the digital world.  At Vodafone we are using our robust digital presence to increase brand love – mainly through social media, search and video.

As mentioned, we worked with Twitter to create a Super ZooZoo emoji linked to the hash tag of #Be Super which complemented the larger campaign of Vodafone Supernet.  The campaign performed well as we got 90MN+ impressions in only 4 days, dominating the category with an increase in SOV of 250%. Positive sentiments increased by 70%. Our initiative on paid media got us an average engagement of 1.7% and also generated over 2.5 lac completed video views during the campaign.

Recently for the launch of Vodafone U (our Youth sub-brand), we also started understanding the space of branded content. We engaged the new-age youth icons - the YouTube stars, to bring alive the proposition of Fun, always on and the product features. With the right content partners Raftaar, Kanan Gill and TVF, we reached out to 22 Million Youth within a month.  The collaborative video that launched the brand saw the 3 YouTube stars coming together in a Never-Before-Seen video that remained on the YouTube top 10 videos for over 3 days , garnered 3+ Million views within few hours and got us trending on #FunWithU and #VodafoneU for 2 days.

What are priority focus areas for the brand going forward?

All the efforts we have done so far have yielded extremely positive results for brand Vodafone, and this is correlated with driving superior business results since in the recent quarters, we have also gained market share. Thus, there remains only one priority area – to be close to customer needs, especially when we have intense competition in the industry. In order to do that, we will continue to drive network & service excellence and deliver innovative relevant offerings, & we will continue to engage with customers in new and refreshing ways.

Which is that one campaign that has done exceptionally for the brand in the past one year?

Since last few months Vodafone has done many engaging campaigns across traditional and digital media – our recent campaign on Vodafone SuperNet, My Vodafone App, etc. We believe that our #BeSuper campaign during Vivo IPL 2016 has been our BEST activation yet in the recently concluded cricket season.The #BeSuper campaign was conceived to promote our Vodafone SuperNet proposition and provide ‘Super’ experiences to our customers.  Customers and cricket lovers responded to Vodafone’s ‘Be Super’ Campaign with overwhelming enthusiasm, making Vodafone one of the most engaging brands during Vivo IPL 2016.

Vodafone partnered with Twitter for the first time to launch ZooZoo in emoji avatar, our first time launching a corporate emoji. The ‘Be Super’ campaign drove high engagement across social media platforms. #BeSuper and #HakkeBakke hashtags generated over 94,000 conversations on Twitter. Vodafone’s specially created cheer slogan HakkeBakke saw 2.4 million video views and generated 200 user videos on Dubsmash. Vodafone SuperFan contest received more than 1.3 million entries while the television commercial got 5 million online views. The much loved ZooZoo has helped Vodafone India create a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ for the ‘largest online photo album of mannequins’. #BeSuper campaign launched on TV in April is still continuing on digital on key occasions like Father’s Day, Rakshabandhan, etc.

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