Tariff not a differentiator on a sustainable basis

Tariff not a differentiator on a sustainable basis
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First Published: Mon, Oct 26 2009. 08 48 PM IST

 Brand power: Ramanathan says the customer should see sustained value in staying with the network. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Brand power: Ramanathan says the customer should see sustained value in staying with the network. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Updated: Mon, Oct 26 2009. 08 48 PM IST
Mumbai: Having launched official Zoozoo merchandise such as tees, mugs and bed linen in partnership with Shopper’s Stop Ltd in India, Vodafone Essar Ltd is now looking to strengthen its relationship with consumers. Kumar Ramanathan, chief marketing officer, Vodafone Essar, talks about the launch of the firm’s new global campaign “Power to you” and its future marketing strategy. Edited excerpts:
Brand power: Ramanathan says the customer should see sustained value in staying with the network. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Vodafone launched its new “Power to you” campaign globally. How soon will it come to India?
It’s more than a campaign. It’s about a way of life. It’s really setting an agenda from a brand point of view. The operative words are “power” and “you”.
We believe it is about transferring power to customer and enabling him to exercise some of those choices. We do have a very precise road map and it is work in progress, but when you announce something as big and defining as this, it’s important that we walk the talk. To me, it’s going to be many activities that we will do, internally and externally, on a sustained basis. So it’s difficult to talk about a time frame.
There could be some stuff in the spectrum of value-added services, new applications and all the rest of it. In short, it will be a large spectrum and encompass whatever we believe will be almost 360 degrees in terms of products and services.
Will the Zoozoos make a transition from just being symbols of the value-added services on offer, to playing a larger role for the brand?
If we find there is a need at some point in time, we will. We believe the Zoozoos are immensely popular and there is a lot of customer connect. So it is only appropriate that we stay connected through a medium like this (merchandising). Having said that, it’s not about using one icon or character over the other.
I think there was place under the sun for the Hutch pug, it was a simple way to share what we stood for from a network and services point of view. If there is a need to revisit that space, it is possible that the Hutch pug will come back.
If we have to look at tariff advisory, we have actors such as Irrfan Khan who helped cut through the clutter. We used him recently for our STD (domestic long distance) plan. Zoozoos have stood for value-added services in a simple fashion. So, as we speak, it’s not about substitution but complementary roles each of them could play depending on the requirement of the business and how it fits into our larger strategy.
Will Vodafone continue to bank on cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL) to create brand visibility and connect?
The contract with IPL is confidential, so I will not be able to share details like how far, how much and for what duration is the contract. However, for us, our media planning is all about identifying the right opportunities and right segments.
Having said that, if any property or association doesn’t pay off, we won’t be in it.
In an industry which is known for high-decibel ad spending, how do you intend to stand out?
Wallet size will never ensure that you cut through the chase. You need to be smart, intelligent and make sure your story is connected to the customer. Vodafone has done it well and we would like to ensure that this differentiation stays in our DNA. Also, tariff is never a differentiator on a sustainable basis.
The customer should see sustained value by staying with the network. Which is why you have a brand, you have service and network.
The “Power to you” campaign will build on these three pillars.
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First Published: Mon, Oct 26 2009. 08 48 PM IST