These are the top-five lessons brand owners can learn from digital communications brands according to EE chief marketing officer, Pippa Dunn. EE is the company that emerged following the merger between Orange and T Mobile in the UK.
Interviewed by Added Value as part of its ‘In the Marketer’s Chair’ series, Dunn pointed out that mobile telecommunications companies enjoy a strong cultural traction with particular cultural relevance to youth from Generation Y to Z.
Her answers to the question ‘What can brand owners learn from this culturally connected category?’ are summarised below.
- Be Bold
Embarking on the creation of EE was a first for the UK mobile telecommunications sector. Dunn 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. She explained: “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.”
- Be authentic to your brand
For Dunn, 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.”
- Be useful to consumers lives
EE leverages its ability to provide a useful service to market itself in culturally relevant ways at big events. Rather than just sponsoring an event, Dunn is of the view that EE must provide a useful service for attendees. She cited Glastonbury as just one example: “We stick in 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 phone.”
- 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 its collaboration with YouTubers Dan and 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,” enthused Dunn.
- Be data-driven to better understand consumers
More important than being able to collecting and collate data is having the ability to mine it. Dunn therefore 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,” she said.
- ‘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.