Siddharth Banerjee of Vodafone India on Associating with IPL 2017 and More

Marketing | May 2, 2017 | Interview

Vodafone WOW Awards Asia 2017 IPL

Siddharth Banerjee is the Executive Vice President (EVP) - Marketing and Head of Brand, Insights, Media, Activation & Digital at Vodafone India. He is responsible for leading the organization towards becoming a digital company which serves customers across mobility – enterprise; financial inclusion & m-commerce solutions; and ensuring Vodafone remains a brand of choice for India.

Banerjee is on the jury of the WOW Awards Asia 2017 set to take place from July 6 to 8, and will be judging entries in categories under Group B – Experiential Marketing.

In this interview, he tells us more about Vodafone's brand-building exercises and experiential marketing initiatives for 2017.

How important is experiential marketing for Vodafone? How strongly is it emphasised in the brand’s overall marketing plan?

Experiential Marketing is an important part of Vodafone’s marketing strategy. A successful experiential marketing campaign needs to have a 360 degree approach to be memorable and remain in a customer's mind to affect purchase behavior. At Vodafone, we use various media like TV, print, radio, OOH, social media and experiential marketing amongst others to connect with our customers, depending on the broad objective and target group.

The experiential marketing strategy designed by Vodafone weaves in a marketing mix of mass media, social media and PR depending on our target audience. Customer engagement plays a very important role in our campaigns to create awareness and educate customers about new products and services. Some of our notable experiential marketing campaigns include:

Vodafone Bazaar in New Delhi

Vodafone Bazaar brought the element of a marketplace beyond just telecom services and products, and associated activities and provision of household goods to help Vodafone establish a deeper connect with the audiences. The aim was to connect with prospective and existing pre-paid users by addressing the basic needs like food and basic utility and household goods for people living in slums. The initiative reached out to migrants and people from lower strata that heavily depend on small paper recharges and offers to connect with their families outside of Delhi NCR.

Vodafone Mobile Buses in Maharashtra

Vodafone India flagged off its ritual Ashadh initiative, with four ‘Vodafone Mobile Buses’ joining lakhs of pilgrims on their annual padayatra to Pandharpur. As has been the practice for the past two years, these ‘Vodafone Mobile Buses’ travelled with the Panduranga bhakt Warkaris all through their journey from Pune to Pandharpur. Two buses each will accompany the Warkaris on the Palkhi routes of Tukaram Maharaj and Dnyaneshwar Maharaj.

Comment on Vodafone’s association with sport leagues like the IPL. How do these help the brand build a stronger consumer connect?

Vodafone has been deeply associated with sporting platforms aligned to our brand philosophy. Every sporting platform that we take on or experiment with has to link up with the brand essence of Vodafone.

Vodafone’s association with IPL

This year marks the 10th year of Vodafone’s association with IPL. Vodafone is also the only national brand to be consistently associated with IPL since inception and Vodafone’s high decibel campaigns have always been a key highlight of each IPL season. Like every year this year also, Vodafone has some interesting customer engagement plans in store. Vodafone’s IPL campaign has always witnessed many path-breaking and first in the country initiatives. While Vodafone ZooZoos were launched in 2009, SuperFan was launched in 2012, Zumi was launched in 2013, in 2016 we as part of our #BeSuper campaign had launched India’s first corporate emoji in partnership with Twitter. Also as a result of our Super Album activity with the Zoozoos in 2016, we created a crowd sourced Guinness World Record for the 'largest online photo album of mannequins'.

Vodafone Sirmur Cup

Apart from IPL, Vodafone is also associated with Vodafone Sirmur Cup since 2003. A 14 goal tournament and the highest number of handicaps per team, gives the Vodafone Sirmur Cup a marquee position in the world of Polo play.

Partnered with Indian Badminton League

In addition to that, Vodafone partnered with the Indian Badminton League as badminton is a sport that most Indians associate with and we see this as a paradigm shift in the sports entertainment industry. The Vodafone Premier Badminton League 2017 offered us a great opportunity to engage with our customers and badminton champs.

What are the kind of results that Vodafone witnesses from conducting activations and on-ground campaigns?

We have been delighted with business outcomes of these initiatives right from increase in brand consideration to increase in market shares in select geographies / categories. Our experience so far has been that if you do things that are truly innovative and cutting edge, then the impact multiplier effect and bang for the buck is unmatchable.

How do you approach rural India? Is on-ground of greater importance here?

In semi urban and rural India, mobile usage patterns are different…people are still at a discovery stage seeking entertainment, social media and email. Encouraging adoption of mobile internet through pocket friendly data plans, segmented offerings, focus on customer service and creating awareness through on ground programmes is key, and that is a key insight for our rural approach.

How does Vodafone position itself against its competition through its marketing campaigns?

The telecom category in India has always been a highly competitive space. Vodafone has always thrived in this competitive market in India and has earned brand love with 200 million plus customers over the years. Hence, we continue to compete in this market with our ever-demanding customers. So, our strategy has always been to be very aware of the evolving needs of a customer and therefore offer products, services, tariffs and brand efforts, which are relevant to them. Specifically we, as an overall organisation, are keenly focused on providing our 200 million plus customers, great reasons every day to be on Vodafone.

Tell us more about the recently launched ‘Data Strong Network’ campaign. Will this be taken on-ground?

Our consumer immersion and insights indicate that customers in India today are using mobile internet for multiple “data-heavy” applications like live streaming, movie download, video calls etc. Vodafone has invested substantial resources to add infrastructure & technology to build Vodafone SuperNet 4G - the Data Strong Network to provide a fast and consistent mobile internet experience for our customers. While we have always provided fast and reliable service to our customers over the years, in this latest campaign, we are confidently demonstrating the power of our network - Vodafone SuperNet 4G - the Data Strong Network for popular data-heavy use cases of mobile internet.

In addition to that, to encourage our customers in upgrading to SuperNet 4G network to experience the best data network connectivity we have recently launched SuperNet 4G SIMEX offer. The customers on upgrading to Vodafone SuperNet 4G SIM, will be greeted with 4GB of free data on 4G enabled handsets.  We have also made these SuperNet 4G SIMs available for free at all Vodafone Stores, Vodafone Mini Stores and multi brand outlets located across the circles.

We have aligned all our communication towards Data Strong Network campaign this season and this will be backed by a 360 degree marketing campaign.

While the ‘Make The Most of Now’ campaign has successfully portrayed out Data Strength, like every year, this year also we have some interesting customer engagement plans in store. Also, to take our customer engagement to a higher level we have planned something the country has never seen before.

Vodafone SuperFan and Vodafone SuperFanKiSuperwish:

Retaining our ever popular Vodafone Super Fan activity, that gave Vodafone customers a once in a lifetime opportunity to get the match winning ball signed by the winning captain on live television, takes on a larger avatar in IPL 2017.VodafoneSuperFanKiSuperwish opens doors for lucky Super Fans to win some dream come true experiences that are being introduced for the first time ever in the history of cricket!

To participate in Vodafone’s IPL initiatives and win these amazing offerings, Vodafone customers can simply SMS SUPERFAN to 199and look forward to making their super wish come true. Alternately one can go to My Vodafone App and look forward to making their super wish come true. On offer are - a dinner with their favourite cricketer, joining IPL stars at net practice, participating in Extra Innings show on Sony, taking a selfie with the Vivo IPL trophy, amongst others

Front Row:

Another first time in India, engagement initiative at IPL 2017 is an opportunity for aspiring Vodafone Super Fans to experience the unique feel of cheering for their favourite team from the Front Row of the stadium, even if he/she is not actually in the stadium, but is watching the match from a Vodafone store, anywhere in the country. Vodafone has conceptualized this initiative thanks to the immense possibilities of their Data Strong Network.

Super Cheer:

Enthused by the super success of ‘Hakke Bakke” in IPL 2016, Vodafone brings another foot thumping SuperCheer this time around, which also marks the return of the adorable Zumis. The Zumi Cheer films will enhance the spirit of IPL with the little characters displaying their signature steps.

Siddharth Banerjee, EVP – Marketing and Head of Brand, Insights, Media, Activation & Digital at Vodafone India talks about the brand’s experiential marketing initiatives.

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