Many consumers believe that all Telecom companies are the same and the only differentiator is price. Vodafone was in danger of being seen as just another commoditized utility like a gas or electricity supplier. Vodafone wanted to be more than just known; they wanted to be loved. They also wanted to push boundaries and do more than just sponsor a Formula 1 or football team.
The solution was “Vodafone Firsts” – a brand engagement digital platform that is true to Vodafone’s brand purpose of being confidently connected. “Firsts” is driven through inspiring content that people want to watch and share; extraordinary events audiences want to be a part of-- like the celebration of extraordinary people and their ambitions to make their own Firsts happen.
Three strands of Firsts content were conceived and all complemented each other:
•Global Firsts - designed to demonstrate scale and aspiration among consumers.
•Local Firsts – in-market stories that give consumers the opportunity to have a unique experience for the first time.
•Very Important Firsts (VIFs) – the heart of Firsts as they humanize the brand through supporting extraordinary people with extraordinary ambitions to make their Firsts happen.
Firsts marks a fundamental shift in how Vodafone’s brand story is expressed by moving from paid-led media to owned and earned consumer engagement. Vodafone has been a pioneering brand since its creation – they sent the first international text message – and the Firsts engagement strategy is a long-term commitment to move from simply being known to being loved. It has re-written the Vodafone marketing communications playbook with a shift away from large scale TV campaigns and sponsorship badging across 17 markets globally. Since its launch in January 2014, Firsts has seen an uplift in consumer emotion of between 3 to 6 points as measured by Millward Brown, and seen a brand equity increase of up to 1.6% or €300m of incremental value.