The Evolution Of Vodafone: More Than Just Mobile

by Caity Dalby, Content Manager, Figaro Digital

Lisa Walker, Head of Media & Sponsorship, Vodafone UK

Vodafone is a giant in the UK telecommunications industry, having made history by conducting the first ever mobile call in the UK on 1 January 1985. In 33 years the brand has grown from a small mobile operator to one of the largest global telecommunications conglomerates – operating in over 30 countries worldwide and partnering with networks in 50+. But Vodafone do, and have always done, so much more than mobile.

As the number one mobile provider to the UK business market and a steadfast supporter of UK businesses through smart technology, superfast broadband, and more, Vodafone have launched their extended More than Mobile campaign to highlight how the next generation of technology can help UK businesses solve the everyday business challenges they are facing.

Figaro Digital spoke to Lisa Walker, Head of Media & Sponsorship at Vodafone UK, about the new campaign, Vodafone’s continued support of UK business, and the exciting future of digital marketing in the telecommunications industry.

FD: How has Vodafone found itself evolving in the digital age?

LW: “It’s not just our customers who are transforming their businesses; we’re transforming our own. Digital transformation at Vodafone is a continued journey. Part of evolving in the digital age is about being ahead of the technology curve; we’re always looking for new ways to challenge how we work, embrace the latest technology and help us remain pioneers. And we are constantly evolving our products and services to make them easier to access, more intuitive and successful.

We’re lucky to have employees who are genuinely passionate, talented and ambitious, and who go above and beyond to satisfy our customers.”

FD: How has the way customers shop and interact with brands digitally shaped the way you communicate as a brand, especially when targeting business decision makers?

LW: “We know our UK business customers have a healthy appetite for digital technology, are keen to embrace it and are aware of the opportunities it creates. But in order to really engage with our audiences, it’s vital to be relevant, accessible and demonstrate business impact. That’s why – in our More than Mobile campaign – we present a series of emotive, real life customer testimonials detailing some of the challenges businesses face and the next generation technology that has helped to resolve them.”

FD: Vodafone has already been so successful, what as a brand are you trying to achieve with the latest campaign ‘More than mobile’?

LW: “Vodafone made its name as a tech pioneer. We made Britain’s first mobile phone call, sent the world’s first text message and we continue to blaze a trail. However, we know that many businesses are not fully aware of the range of services and solutions that we offer.

With this campaign, we want to highlight that we are committed to helping organisations across multiple sectors solve the business challenges they’re facing today. To succeed in today’s fast-paced business world, companies of all sizes need the right support and technology. Whether it is converged communications or Internet of Things solutions, we have the expertise needed to help businesses be ready for future ways of working, embrace new business models, and deliver market-changing services.”

FD: Vodafone implements a wide variety of digital strategies on multiple channels, how does this campaign fit within Vodafone’s overarching digital strategy?

LW: “The campaign is a key component of a highly targeted digital plan where we land the right message with the most relevant business audiences, which is, of course, a core objective across all of our media investment.”

FD: How important do you think it is for Vodafone to utilise digital media, technology, and different channels, to boost engagement?

LW: “It’s imperative that we understand our audiences; therefore the mix of media and channels that we use to deliver our brand messaging is always insight-led. A multi-channel approach is essential to reach as many of our audience as possible, in a relevant and targeted way.”

FD: The new campaign with be running across radio, print, video on demand, and social media channels. What do you find about this combination of traditional and digital media that works for Vodafone?

LW: “The campaign will run for 18-24 months. This is really exciting; as it’s the first time we have run a through-the-line brand campaign of this duration and scale, that specifically targets UK businesses.

Whilst this campaign includes a mix of traditional media to deliver reach and scale, it is the digital components of our activity that are really allowing us to deliver the relevance to our audiences.”

FD: Why has Vodafone moved away from mobile and reevaluated who they should be targeting?

LW: “This is not about ‘moving away’ from mobile. We’re the number one mobile provider to the UK business market, and will continue to invest.  However, we have also been ‘more than mobile’ for many years.

Our business is to support UK businesses – from SoHo, small and medium businesses to large organisations and enterprises – in every way we can through smart technology, connected communications, cloud solutions, superfast broadband, Internet of Things, and more.

We want potential and existing customers to understand all of the ways Vodafone can help them with products that go way beyond mobile communications.

We are continually adding to our portfolio; for example our Superfast Broadband can keep businesses running smoothly, while our Unified Communications (combined fixed and mobile solutions) can increase productivity and prevent businesses missing new customer opportunities. We can also deliver data and insights with our Internet of Things solutions.”

FD: Finally, how do you see the telecommunications world digitally transforming in the coming years? And what do you think the future holds for companies like Vodafone?

LW: “It’s an exciting time for the telecommunications world as connectivity is becoming pervasive and is truly the platform for so many crucial technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, robotics, and IoT. As we look for ways to connect people, places and things, the Internet of Things is perhaps the best example of where we’ll see adoption by businesses of all sizes continue to scale.

In tandem, 5G will have a huge impact on businesses by providing more bandwidth for devices to connect at scale, at the same time and to more applications. We want to help ensure organisations are ready to use 5G technology as it becomes available.

The speed of innovation means we’re likely to see more collaboration in the B2B space as business leaders seek specialist knowledge, fast delivery, and the creation of connected services. We think this is a great opportunity for companies such as Vodafone.”