Monday, June 22, 2009

The Zoozoo story

Since the time Vodafone launched their new advertisements featuring Zoozoo, there has been a lot o discussion whether this series of advertisements is going to help Vodafone in any way or not. People have been giving their opinion about this and as expected, some are finicky about the concept. However, I would like to take you a step back and would like you to analyse the competition space in which Vodafone is operating.

Telecom companies in India are competing merely on the positioning and in very few cases, the quality of service (otherwise the services offered and the quality of these services is more or less comparable amongst all the major players including Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance and Idea). In such a scenario, the marketing function boils down to commanding highest mind space in customers and to create an image of the brand which in some way differentiates the brand from the competitor brands (Please remember that each brand might stand for different things despite offering similar services).

An analogy of this phenomenon could be drawn from the well known and well experienced Cola-war. Pepsi and Coca cola spent big fortunes of money for years, trying to sell more of their products where they used a range of concepts ranging from “asking for more” to “associations with cricket” to “synonymous to 5” to “drink of celebration” and many more but were any of these really related to the product? None. The whole concept was just to create an aura around the brand and make any secondary associations to provide some secondary motivations to the public to buy the product.

Now coming back to the telecom story, the current scenario is not pretty much different with each company having equally good infrastructure to provide wide uninterrupted reach and high quality services. Clearly in this market, these telcos have no other option but to take the tested route taken by cola companies. As a result, the Airtel advertisements suggesting uninterrupted connectivity and customizable offers, Aircel advertisements of Pocket Internet, Idea advertisements featuring Abhishek Bachchan and Mumbai Indians, Reliance advertisements featuring Hrithik Roshan and Vodafone’s zoozoos offer the same services to the consumers in different platters.

Basically the concept Vodafone wants you to drive home is the high tech image of Vodafone and by that they would like you to deduce their high capability to provide the services in a more efficient way. Frankly I don’t know how much of that is really getting communicated but Zoozoo have enabled them a higher mind space and higher media coverage for sure. This is  a real big transition from the cute Hutch dog and was required for Vodafone to get out of the Hutch frame and create a different place for Vodafone in the minds of the consumer.

How much of this phenomenon will result in higher sales for Vodafone is still questionable but considering the fact that a higher mind space and a distinctive positioning should eventually convert some prospective into customers, I am not very skeptical over the success of these advertisements.

PS: This post was supposed to be posted over a month back but due to various reasons, it could not happen. Although late in terms of timing but I suppose fresh in terms of interpretations and ideas. 

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