Vodafone is a telecoms powerhouse, offering mobile, fixed-line, IoT and hosting services in 26 countries globally. B2B sales are a core driver of Vodafone’s success with 30% of their £47 billion annual revenue coming from the enterprise market.

"Perspective has surpassed all expectations. The content was resonant, unique and engagingly produced – even competitors admit that it has raised the benchmark. There is direct evidence that the campaign created several million pounds in incremental revenue. And internally the feedback from our Senior Leadership Team and sales organisation has been overwhelmingly positive."

The challenge

Vodafone had noticed a critical change in the mindset of their business customers.  Telecommunications were no longer being viewed simply as a ‘utility’ but as a strategic business consideration.  This had two important implications:

  • Business customers wanted to work with a supplier who understood the business environment and their strategy
  • Rather than just talk about ‘technology’ roles about providing communications, Vodafone needed to talk to ‘business’ roles about their challenges

Creating a research-led thought leadership programme was the perfect response to this situation.  High-value content could not only raise brand visibility and create opportunities for one-on-one sales discussions, it could do so in a way which firmly positioned Vodafone as a partner who understood the world of work.

Recognising this, Vodafone engaged long-term partners Circle Research and Geometry to help create the Perspective series.  Two years in and the programme has won several awards and delivered an ROI in excess of 8,000%.

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Our approach

Creating the Perspective series was a collaborative effort. Circle, the UK’s go-to market research agency, designed the strategy, conducted research to substantiate the point-of-view and wrote the end report.  Geometry, Vodafone’s marketing partner, embellished the report with case studies and expert third-party commentary then promoted the content.  And throughout, Vodafone led the programme and ensured that it remained closely aligned to corporate goals.

Circle kicked off the project by identifying topics for the series which were:

To ensure this was the case, all competing content was audited, in-depth interviews were conducted with the target audience and key internal stakeholders (especially sales) were engaged.

This comprehensive approach identified a strong theme:  ‘The changing shape of UK PLC’.  Within this, four specific content topics were identified:

This initial stage also identified common pitfalls to avoid and these formed the basis of the campaign strategy.  For example, much content is based simply on opinion or flimsy evidence.  Vodafone would use reliable facts, honestly presented.  And rather than present a one-sided view, Vodafone would bring together multiple opinions, but still clearly rubber stamp their own position.

Strategy in hand, it was time to get to work.  Several ‘hero’ reports were created throughout 2013 and released at regular intervals.  Each report was based on a different survey and adopted a unique approach.  However, the report ‘Fluid Society’ illustrates the format well:

Geometry subsequently created several supporting, ‘bite-size’ content assets.  For example, the report ‘Customer Service Beyond Today’ was supported with:

Attention then turned to using the content.

Webinars and face-to-face sessions were run to brief sales teams on the key insights and provide ideas on how they might use the content to engage customers/prospects.  Then several externally facing marketing activities took place to raise visibility and create debate, e.g. the ‘Your Better Business Live’ series of events.

The business outcomes

The campaign had three core objectives:

  • Raise brand visibility and engagement
  • Position Vodafone as a thought leader
  • Create opportunities for targeted, one-on-one sales discussions

There’s no doubt that Perspective is creating a buzz around the brand:

  • Over 5,000 report downloads
  • 70 pieces of high-quality PR, e.g. the Sunday Times, CIO Magazine
  • Wide social engagement, e.g. 4,000+ shares of the latest infographic in 30 days

Perspective has also established Vodafone as a thought leader.  Brand tracking research shows that associations between Vodafone and ‘thought leadership’ have risen by a statistically significant amount since the campaign began.

Marketing has found the insight to be invaluable in strategic planning. And sales teams have also found the Perspective series to be a valuable tool.  Account Managers trained in using the content have generated several million pounds of incremental revenue.  Overall, hard data shows that Perspective has created an ROI in excess of 8,000%.

Now there’s some food for thought.

Other case studies

We developed the Global Mobility thought leadership programme for relocation firm Santa Fe.

View case study

The result is content which positions them as the voice-of-authority and has led to >1,000 sales opportunities.

We helped Microsoft build their mobile device business by tracking brand perceptions.

View case study

"Our brand tracking study is an invaluable management tool. Not only does it provide critical performance metrics, Circle couple that with clear and practical guidance on how to strengthen our brand"

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