Biggest step is to handhold customers & carry them forward to the new brand: Kavita Nair

Nair, Chief Digital Transformation and Brand Officer, Vodafone Idea Limited, talks about the new brand identity ‘Vi’

e4m by Dipali Banka
Updated: Sep 10, 2020 8:46 AM
kavita Nair

Re-branding of two iconic brands Vodafone and Idea into a new brand identity ‘Vi’, that too during a health crisis not only shows how critical it is for the company to go through this transition at this point of time but also depicts the ‘true spirit of collaboration’.

As the network integration of Vodafone and Idea, which merged in August 2018 to form Vodafone Idea Limited, is almost complete, the company needed to focus on the brand to ensure that customers of both these legacy brands, start engaging with this combined new entity. It was also important for the company from a standpoint of raising funds. The company last week announced a plan to raise Rs 25,000 crore fundraising as a mix of debt and equity. And also, to build up ARPU for the brand and gain the lost market share from its rivals Airtel and Jio.

Talking about the re-branding exercise and the transition, Kavita Nair, Chief Digital Transformation and Brand Officer, Vodafone Idea, says, “The new identity has been created by Wolff Olins and the work is a collaboration of Wolff Olins, Ogilvy and Vodafone Idea Limited. As a company, our strategy was that we move to an integrated brand, clearly drawing from the legacy and heritage of two wonderful brands, and create a new dynamic edge for the Indians of today. We wanted a brand which could stretch across consumers, businesses, geographies, formats and partners. And from a design system perspective, what you see is that ‘Vi’ is more than an abbreviation of just, V and i 'we' but it also represents the power of the collective and collaboration. And it is also about Indians who have affiliate bonds with everything, may it be family, friends, businesses, communities. The ‘i’ has a bold mustard dot. It is an exclamation mark with the bold mustard dot which is surprising and delightful.”

Talking further about the brief for the campaign, Nair says, “We had three tasks. One was to establish that Vodafone and Idea is now ‘Vi’. The second one was that we wanted very clearly the sonics and the fact that ‘Vi’ is ‘we’, to be established. And the positioning of ‘together for tomorrow’. And the ad, I think, beautifully accomplishes all the three things that we wanted to do.”

According to media experts, brand Idea has been more earthy and rural focused, while Vodafone has always been far more modern, young and contemporary. ‘Vi’ with the positioning of ‘together for tomorrow’ has come with a whole new personality and philosophy for the brand. But how easy or difficult is it for this new brand to move away from the earlier brand associations, and create new associations? “I think the biggest step is to handhold our customer and carry them forward to the new brand. We have sent personal communication e-mail or SMS to all customers. Apart from that, the key task from a strategy perspective is to build rapid awareness about the transition,” explains Nair.

“As part of engaging with the customer with ‘Vi’, we have launched AR filters where customers can put their photos with the new brand, they can create their own caller tunes, win prizes on spotting the log on the app, etc. Of course people will still remember Vodafone and Idea and they will remember the icons of both the brands. And those icons are with us and it is up to us if we use them,” adds Nair.

As part of the media mix for creating that rapid awareness, the company used TV plus digital and print for announcement. Like earlier brand transitions, the company had a 24-hour roadblock in a few television channels were only the Vi ad played to get rapid awareness. Similar roadblocks were done on digital properties, however in a different manner. And print was used as an announcement. “It is a week-long campaign and I'm hoping that we would have this rapid awareness built during this time. Once the roadblocks finishes, we will continue with the mix of TV plus digital media from an awareness building as well as engagement, perspective.”

Apart from a catchy campaign, something that is unique to the new brand ‘Vi’ is the new ‘design system’ as the company calls it – the connectors, trails and the various forms that the logo can take, making it a lot more dynamic, fluid and flexible, targeted for the new age digital-first Indians.

Explaining the design system further, Nair says, “Consumers have moved on from the classic 360 degree approach that we used to have. And which is why you need a dynamic design system which really surprises them, and they can then just connect the dots. As part of this design system, we have trails, and the mustard dot, which we call the particle move. It has this playfulness and can unpack amazing possibilities and brings the brand alive for the customer. For the digital world, it comes out dramatically and when you adapt it to the physical world, it looks spectacular. So, it can really surprise people, it delights people but it is not confusing. People can relate to it.”
The company certainly has big plans for the festive season and the IPL. It will be really interesting to see how the brand will play out going forward.

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