Vodacom, South Africa's leading cellular operator and a subsidiary of UK-based Vodafone, has spent over R200 million to rebrand and turn from blue to red and become simpler, a move its CEO Pieter Uys says is aimed at changing the role his company plays in its customers' lives by evolving its connectivity from a convenience to a basic need - a package which includes transforming its network, customers' experience and value. [multimedia]
"Over the years, the organisation has grown and the world has changed, and our customers have become more complex. So it is time for us to relook how we do things and perhaps become a younger company by looking at new ways of staying relevant," Uys (@uyspj) told a media briefing on Friday afternoon, 1 April 2011, in Sandton, Johannesburg.
"This is not a once-off change but it's a journey. And it's much more than simply turning from blue to red. It's the way we will be doing business going forward."
New approach, new direction
Press pack picture of Ponte City with fireworks for unveiling of Vodacom's new branding. On Friday night, 1 April 2011, only half of the Ponte LED sign was lit up. See also this photo by Darren Smith, which was taken on Friday night.
"Power to You" is the company's new advertising slogan - a tool Uys described as a new approach and new direction for Vodacom.
Vodacom said it is going to double the number of its 3G base stations in the country, a move meant to take connectivity to more people 'than ever before'.
Uys unveils Vodacom's new brand identity (via TechCentral's YouTube channel).
"We are leading a revolution to connect the entire country - this is not about cherry-picking a few people in cities for an elite service, but also about getting a decent connection to everyone and ensuring that nobody gets left behind," Uys declared, brimming with confidence.
Vodacom currently has more than 4300 3G sites in SA, half of which are 21 Mbps enabled and just under1000 of which are enabled for 42 Mbps sites.
Print ad with Michael de Pinna and Bankole Omotso.
"To put this next-generation 42 Mbps technology in perspective, with compatible modems the theoretical peak speed achievable by customers is more than 100 times faster than Vodacom's original 3G offering, launched as a South African first in December 2004," he explained.
"We need to offer our customers what they want. Vodacom is about communication. Therefore we have come up with new ways that will allow our customers to interface with us," Uys stressed.
Vodacom - which turns 18 this year - has redesigned its shops, where the latest technology will be showcased, turning them red and simpler and giving them a new 'look and feel' to give its customers a fresh and inspiring shopping experience. The company has also refurbished its management, bringing its new MD closer to the organisation in order to speed up the achievement of its goals.
Uys said these structural changes are not meant to cut costs, but an attempt to work towards becoming a simpler, younger and more dynamic and accessible organisation as it forges ahead to improve customer experience.
"So much going on"
"There is so much going on this company right now, so much energy being put in. We didn't need to take months to respond. That's why we simplified the organisation and shortened its layers."
The rebranding of head office Vodaworld to Vodacom World.
The SA event, which took place on the same day as the Tanzania, Lesotho and Mozambique relaunches, was feted with much pomp and noise, with the hosting on Friday night of the Vodacom Unlimited music festival at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, where an all-star lineup gave a memorable performance and brought the whole township to a standstill.
We are still the same and we haven't lost what made us Vodacom. And we are proud to be part of the big Vodafone family," Uys concluded.
Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to Bizcommunity.com as a senior news writer.
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