Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Vodafone "Brand" Hammered on Redundancy News

The following is abridged from mad.co.uk, a website for those working in marketing and the media. It shows the impact of Vodafone's new employee relations policy on the value of the company's brand. This is also likely to have an effect on the summer's EPP bonus...

Vodafone might be in pole position in terms of Formula One sponsorship thanks to its relationship with Lewis Hamilton but its Brand Buzz is taking a battering on the back of a major redundancy programme, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex.

The mobile operator has just unleashed the “Make the most of now” television campaign featuring the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver and is hoping to capitalise on his “golden boy” status in the UK as a brand ambassador.

However, the best-laid marketing plans can always be overshadowed by other news and the fact Vodafone announced on 18 March that it is to make 450 job cuts at is Berkshire head office has probably led to the slip in the brand’s Buzz. It fell from 4 at the beginning of the racing season to -1 by the middle of last week.

The Buzz is a measure of whether people have heard positive or negative statements about a brand. Despite a barrage of recent activity and initiatives aimed at a variety of demographics Vodafone has not really seen its Buzz climb higher than 4 in the past six months.

It cannot have helped that the opening of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow was meant to be the centrepiece of Vodafone’s outdoor campaign with backlit billboards in the baggage reclaim halls.
The huge negative media coverage surrounding the T5 farrago will not have helped brands associated with it, although on the plus side waiting passengers will have had plenty of time to see the messages.

It’s a shame that news of another high profile initiative, the global deal with Warner Music International to help promote the new Madonna album, broke the same day as the redundancy revelations . The singer’s new album arrives on 28 April and Vodafone will offer tracks for download from 21st. Hopefully, the company’s PR machine will step up activity and help the brand recover momentum.

Looking at other BrandIndex markers it’s no surprise that the Corporate rating, which measures if people would want to work for the company, has slipped dramatically from a high of 17 at the end of December to 9 by last Friday (28 March).

The Vodafone UK marketing team is still a process of flux and axed the chief marketing officer position in February. Head of brand and marketing communications Dominic Chambers also chose this juncture to leave and UK consumer director Ian Shepherd is yet to unveil a new head of brand. The department is going to have to work hard to get the brand back on track.


Anonymous said...

As Arun Sarin is so fond of saying... "Go Vodafone". Yes okay but go where exactly? They've lost the plot haven't they!

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