Interview: Vodafone UK Brand & Marketing Director on ‘strategic’ brand positioning, sustainability and social responsibility

Mobile Marketing Magazine sits down with Vodafone UK’s Brand and Marketing Director, Maria Koutsoudakis, to discuss sustainability, key brand messaging and mobile marketing being a “strategic priority” for the brand.

Positioning Vodafone as the trusted digital partner

Navigating the competitive telecoms market requires a strategic vision, according to Koutsoudakis who has been with Vodafone UK since 2018 joining from retail giant Marks & Spencer (M&S), where she held a series of senior positions including Head of Brand and Marketing and Head of Customer Experience.

As a result, the company aims to be the “trusted digital partner for UK families” and positions itself as a technology communications hub, connecting customers, businesses, and devices to unlock the benefits of digital innovation.

“We try to highlight that we offer customers a reliable award-winning network, and more recently that we were also awarded London’s Best Network,” she says.

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Prioritising mobile marketing

Given that mobile customers form Vodafone’s most substantial user base, mobile marketing takes the spotlight in the company’s brand strategy, Koutsoudakis admits.

As a result, it ensures an “incredible network and fantastic customer experience”, she claims.

The shift to digital platforms is also embraced, with a focus on BVOD, YouTube, social display, and PPC representing the majority of Vodafone’s media budget.

Koutsoudakis adds: “We continue to ensure all our communication is targeted to where the customer is and fit for the platform in execution.”

Embracing sustainability and social responsibility

According to the brand and marketing boss, the telecom giant places a strong emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility.

Using its everyone.connected programme as an example, it aims to bridge the digital divide between those who have access to digital technology, and the 1.7 million households who do not.

As a result, Vodafone has committed to assisting four million people and businesses to cross the digital divide by the end of 2025. However, this is not the only factor Vodafone is committed to.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do,” she states.

As of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity Vodafone uses in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

“Through our Great British Tech Appeal, we also work with our charity partner Barnardo’s to clean up, re-box and give donated tech to someone in need, along with six months of free data, calls, and texts,” she says.

The role of the Vodafone app

Koutsoudakis states the Vodafone app has become a priority experience as she reveals ecommerce is now Vodafone’s biggest store.

“We feel it’s important we offer the best possible experience for customers via our app,” she says.

As a result, all-encompassing features allow users to manage accounts, view bills, make purchases, engage with customer service, and enjoy perks via VeryMe.

Adapting to emerging trends

As the telecom industry surges forward, the mobile service provider predicts two key emerging trends in the mobile marketing industry in time for the New Year.

As a result, Vodafone positions itself to leverage trends effectively, which include continued fragmentation of media formats within different media, as well as a big shift towards creator or native creative within social platforms.