Vodacom is in the South African market (and in many other parts of the continent) but changing colour to better align itself with Vodafone, which is now Vodacom is in the process of turning its world red, keeping the name that has become so well known its parent company. This would seem like a dangerous time, reputationally, but the company sees the changeover as an opportunity rather than a threat.
“We’re hoping this brand refresh will bring a much-enhanced customer experience and that feeds into our reputation quite critically,” says Portia Maurice, chief corporate affairs officer. “It is early days to make an assessment on how the brand change will impact on reputation, but reputation is not just about the brand identity. It is really about being able to match expectations — that gives your brand credibility.”
In the South African market, Vodacom’s most recent survey of customers found that customer service, ethics, product quality and value and leadership are the four main drivers of its reputation. That varies from market to market, though, and can change from quarter to quarter.
Well-established and trusted it may be, but Maurice says the company needs to stay on its toes, making sure the promises are consistently delivered on whenever Vodacom deals with customers, whether in stores that carry its brand or through any of its call centres. Having a strong brand makes that all the more important.
“Brands make promises that create expectations, and reputation is based on expectations. If you make promises you can’t keep, you won’t have the reputation you desire, you’ll get the reputation you deserve. It is all about delivering a consistent customer experience.”
One of those brand promises Vodacom is making right now is that its colour change also signals positive change elsewhere. “We are the same company, now we are enhancing and improving,” is how Maurice summarises the campaign.