Vodafone Idea Limited has completed the world’s largest telecom integration with the launch of a new brand identity called Vi which will connect 280 million customers. In conversation with Kavita Nair, Chief Digital Transformation and Brand Officer, Vi about the brand’s journey to provide world class digital experiences to one billion Indians
Q] This network integration was clearly in the making for two years....was it always the plan to launch it in September, 2020 or did you speed up the process because it made sense to launch it during the pandemic with the increased reliance on telecom players?
No, we didn’t really speed up that process because of the pandemic. We were fairly clear that we wanted our network integration to happen soon. We decided now is the right time to go to the market and the customer with something which is future fit for both, us as an organization as well as the customer.
Q] Because of this emphasis on togetherness in the new brand identity, what will Vi offer the consumer that Vodafone and Idea didn’t individually?
I will have to say that you have to watch this space because we just saw the birth of a new brand, and you will see many more things in the near future. This is the first time two big networks are coming together and that is saying something.
A lot of the stuff we are doing for engagement may sound like fun but it is the kind of thing that Vodafone Idea may not have done, like for example, there is an AR filter when you put your photo in between V and I. You can create a personal tune, a ringtone just for yourself, your mobile number can become your own signature tune.
It’s stuff that is thought through from a digital-first lens.
ABOUT THE BRAND
Vodafone Idea Limited has just launched a new brand identity called Vi which is a result of a merger between Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Group in 2018. The company provides pan India voice and data services across 2G, 3G and 4G platforms. It will provide all brand services and products in India to its consumers under the brand name Vi.
PR Agency: Adfactors PR
Creative Agency: Ogilvy
Media agency: Wavemaker
Digital Design agency: Lollypop Design
Design agency: Wolf Ollins
Q] You have very interestingly used the initials of both brands to signify togetherness. Can you tell us more about the insight behind it and the ad made by Ogilvy?
Firstly, having done the migration, we have to really get rapid awareness about this new brand and the transition going. Secondly, we wanted to ensure the consumer gets the sound of Vi right as We and not as V and Y.
And then the third of course is the positioning itself, which is together for tomorrow. So all of that comes really through in our new ad very creatively.
Q] What will be the marketing mix for the campaign and how much are you spending on promoting the new identity?
It is going to be a very big campaign because we have to do rapid awareness building but I don’t want to comment on the numbers. We have a task at hand and we need do it efficiently. We will be using all mediums, we had a roadblock which went on air on the night of the launch on Zee Network and a few news channels were only carrying Vi ads for a day.
We are also spending on the Digital medium and the other key mediums like Print. Some publications ran the ads on the launch day, but it is heavily skewed towards TV and Digital.
Q] There were two brand mascots, which are universal favourites… the Vodafone pug and zoozoos... Will you drop them?
They are still our assets and we can use them whenever we want to. Watch the space to see what we’ll do with them.
Q] Ravinder Takkar, your CEO said consumers are willing to pay additional tariff for better service. Will VI see higher pack costs than that of Vodafone or Idea?
No, not right now, but we will increase it when the time is right, and I will go with whatever Ravinder said that we do sell below cost, so tariffs can increase.
Q] Vodafone Idea has seen its user base reduce significantly, dropping to 280 million users at the end of June this year, compared with 408 million users at the time of the merger between Vodafone and Idea two years ago…. What happened and by how much do you see your user base go up because of the integration now?
We don’t talk about future targets because we are a public company.
Q] There has always been an intense competition in the telecom sector. What will your strategy be to take on rivals, Airtel and Jio?
We have a very good foundation to really differentiate ourselves and carve our space. We respect our competition and we always will but we have an opportunity to differentiate ourselves and become something dissimilar to what our competition stands for.
We would like to get ahead and we hope that the new identity and our plans with it will help us carve our own footprint in the consumers’ lives.
Q] How much time will it take for the existing consumers to smoothly transition into Vi?
Existing customers don’t need to change their sim cards or data plan. Vodafone and Idea users automatically become Vi customers. All they need to do is update the app.
Kavita Nair is the Chief Digital Transformation and Brand Officer of Vi. Nair has leadership experience in consumer and enterprise, brand management/marketing and product management, channel and customer operations. Transformation, taking risks by questioning the status quo and keeping the customer at the heart have been the cornerstones of her experience.