Vodafone Firsts- From Known to Loved
OMD International London

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.