Brand strategy, language and empathy

"NPS (customer satisfaction) rose by 15-20%. Average chat length fell by 5%. Impressive saving of £0.5m a year."

Vodafone are great at connecting their customers. But they knew they could do better when it came to connecting with them. Over the past few decades, the original mobile telecoms company had grown fast and changed much. As has the way people communicate. So they realised that meant they had to change how they were writing to people. They needed a tone of voice to give consistency to the many emails, texts and other communications they send to customers every year. A brand tone that would bring all their communications together under one easy-to-understand roof.

Luckily it didn’t take too long to find the nub of the new brand tone. In our very first meeting their brand team said, ‘I love your strapline, helping companies sound more human. That’s what we need’. And so it began.

Hold tight

Vodafone like to move fast. So before we knew it we were presenting our ideas for the new brand tone direct to the CEO. Getting the top brass onside is always important, so we were chuffed that he was taking a personal interest. It helped us get to the heart of what felt right and true about the brand. And just how to express that in words.

Then came brand tone guidelines that would be used by everyone across the business who communicates with Vodafone’s customers day in, day out.

The dust had barely settled on the new guidelines when we started training people in how to write in the new tone. We’ve run hands-on tone workshops with hundreds of people from marketing, brand, legal, compliance, IT, incident management, customer service and external creative agencies. And they’ve gone down incredibly well:

Diving in

But a new tone of voice doesn’t take hold overnight. Vodafone had thousands of communications that needed rewriting. So we dived in and showed them how to apply the new tone to a range of different things – emails, texts, web copy, letters, presentations. The perfect way to showcase the new way of writing.

We even went native, with one of our team spending a few months in Newbury helping their in-house digital team bring the new tone to life.

More power

Vodafone have taken to their new brand tone with gusto. It’s spreading throughout the business from the CEO right down to the guys running the Twitter accounts. There are brand tone evangelists holding their own mini tone sessions with colleagues, and copywriters working to refresh standard communications. It’s a big place and there’s still some way to go, but the Vodafone brand tone is there to stay.

"I couldn't recommend Ben and his team highly enough. He has an incredible energy, drive and enthusiasm for brand and tone of voice, as well as always being on hand to chat through ideas, find solutions or just simply get stuck in."

Suzie Rook, Head of Brand, Vodafone