Vodafone is preparing a major international brand refresh in a bid to bolster its customer relationships globally and maintain its competitive edge.
Sources say that ongoing work with advertising giant WPP’s Team Vodafone will see a refreshed brand identity system and guidelines developed with Vodafone’s international brand teams.
The move is part of a bid to achieve greater autonomy by enhancing global consensus among Vodafone companies around its existing identity and brand expression.
A series of strategic projects have been proposed globally to ‘give the brand more resonance and a deeper relationship with consumers’, but the firm’s logo will be retained.
Projects include a packaging overhaul and store refurbishment plan to complement new guidelines by focusing entirely on customer engagement – both are currently being trialled in the UK.
Under the brand refresh, stores will be fully Wi-Fi-enabled with digital display screens in windows to replace posters, live products, demonstration areas and a concierge service. Edinburgh was the first store to implement the changes in May and the company says it is on track to reach 25% of its retail estate by Christmas.
Work will cover the group’s two key geographic regions – EMEA and Asia-Pacific. In the UK, Vodafone has 19 million customers and is the third biggest operator behind O2 and Everything Everywhere.
The company has struggled to usurp its competitors across the continent.
The changes are being driven by new group brand director Clare Sheikh, who joined the company from insurance giant RSA on 1 September. She is in charge of the group’s brand framework, creative strategy, brand identity, media strategy and sponsorships.
Former Phones 4u marketing director Russell Braterman, who joins Vodafone as brand and creative strategy director on 1 November, will also be involved, alongside Morten Lundal, group chief commercial officer. A spokeswoman said no firm decisions would be made ‘until the team has bedded in’.
One source said Sheikh is looking to maximise branding opportunities worldwide and steal as much share as possible through extra exposure.
‘She has brought with her the experience of a global financial giant and is keen to reposition Vodafone as flexible and dynamic enough to offer something for everyone. Right now, they haven’t been strong at doing this and it’s a huge bone of contention – the failure of 360 [Vodafone’s cloud service] is exemplary,’ he said.
Vodafone’s brand refresh follows a turbulent year that saw the departures of brand director David Wheldon and customer insight director Andy Moore.
The operator insists that local markets will remain responsible for the brand in their country and report to the local leadership team.