Top 5 Lessons Brand Owners can Learn from Digital Communications Brands

29 Mar 2015|Added Value

Mobile telecommunications companies enjoy a strong cultural traction with particular cultural relevance to youth from gen y to z. We recently sat down with Pippa Dunn, CMO of pioneering telecommunications company EE, as part of our In the Marketer’s Chair series and asked her, what can brand owners learn from this culturally connected category?

1. Be Bold
Embarking on the creation of EE (a merger between Orange and T Mobile) was a first for the UK mobile telecommunications sector. Pippa and her team planned to “create a new brand, and actually a new infrastructure for Britain, because we’d lagged behind in the marketplace”. The bold step to innovate paid off, but it took a lot of guts explains Pippa: “If you researched it, people would say probably, ‘don’t do it. You know, we’re happy with Orange and T-Mobile, so therefore you just imbibe new meaning into those by bringing 4G.’ Whereas we really felt that there was an opportunity to really refresh the telecoms market by creating a new brand.”

2. Be authentic to your brand
For Pippa, being culturally relevant is about finding a way to do this that befits your brand. And she doesn’t believe in forcing it, “Kids love their mobile phones pretty much more than anything else in their entire universe, including their parents…and we provide them the connectivity with all of the things that they love, so we are relevant to them”.

3. Be useful to consumer’s lives
EE leverage their ability to provide a useful service to market themselves in culturally relevant ways at big events. Rather than just sponsoring an event, Pippa is of the view that EE must provide a useful service for attendees. She cites Glastonbury as just one example, “we stick an extra mast so that people who are on the network get great coverage, but we also allow everybody to recharge their phones. Because the one thing you need at a festival is to be able to recharge your phones.”

4. Be open to relevant collaborations to drive engagement
From Google to Apple, EE keeps its cultural cool with younger consumers through collaborating on exciting projects. Take their collaboration with YouTubers Dan & Phil to provide limited edition sim cards for example. “We were just providing the service, and then Dan and Phil were giving them, video content and ringtones and calling up some of the customers, and you know, all those sort of things, and really got properly engaged in the whole thing,” enthuses Pippa.

5. Be data driven to better understand consumers
Data is not a problem for EE. Pippa says, “We know what customers are doing with their phones, how many calls they’re making and texts they’re sending, what data they’re using, which websites they’re visiting, by age group, by demographic, by region.” But what’s more important for brand owners is to have the right talent to mine the data available to them. As such, Pippa employs just as many maths graduates as she does arts graduates; “the ability for marketers to be analytical, to understand data, to understand the commercials, to understand not just how to make an ad or do sponsorship or PR or whatever else it is, but actually understand how you’re going to make money out of the products, is absolutely crucial”.

Watch the full interview:

In the Marketer’s Chair is an Added Value interview series with the world’s top marketers about their lives, careers, successes and most importantly, their views on what it takes to drive transformational growth in marketing and business today.

Check out the series on our YouTube channel here.

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