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Vi is for new-age, digital-first Indians; will use TV, digital and print to build awareness, says Kavita Nair of Vi

Building a new brand identity in today's time isn't easy, especially for Vodafone Idea (now Vi) which has been losing subscribers faster than ever. In a conversation with, Kavita Nair, Chief Digital Transformation and Brand Officer, Vi, talks about the stickiness of the new brand identity and how the telecom operator is planning to regain lost ground

Kavita Nair

Vodafone Idea recently unveiled their unified brand identity ‘Vi’. The telecom operators, since their mergers, have been losing subscribers to their competition. The new brand identity is aimed at strengthening its consumer base and appeal to the new-age digital-first Indian.

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As a part of its marketing campaign, the brand has signed to become co-sponsor of this season of the Indian Premier League. Vi is also running roadblocks across media platforms to communicate the new brand identity.

In a conversation with, Kavita Nair, Chief Digital Transformation and Brand Officer, Vi, talks about the brand's strategy for building awareness among consumers.


What’s the reason behind the brand’s two-year wait to launch Vodafone-Idea’s new identity?

In the last two years, we have emerged to be leaner, agile and future-fit. We have accomplished the world’s largest integration in record time and have created a future-ready network for digital Indians. We have 4G population coverage to nearly 1bn Indians, which is double since the merger. We have re-framed large spectrum portfolio to create huge capacity while having the network with 5G-ready technology elements, which is again the double data capacity and traffic since the merger. We are delivering fastest 4G speeds in many markets, more than two times faster data speed since merger. So, this effort which was done in two years is a mammoth one and we have managed to do this in just two years. Vodafone and Idea are two strong complementary brands with their own strength, a loyal base of customers across different segments and serving different needs.

So, for us now was the right time really to get a unified brand because the backend is really set now. And even in situation like Covid-19, we are able to serve our customers with the needs, which are really important for them.

How did you ensure that the new logo and identity have hints of the past logos and positioning?

That is to do with our strategic approach. When we started working on what should be our unified identity, we were very clear about the agenda and even from the marketing parlance. We definitely wanted one brand but we wanted it to have the legacy, new dynamic edge, and since these two are complementing brands to each other, we wanted our unified brand to stretch to drive stickiness.

When we embarked upon the deeper understanding of the consumer needs, some powerful stories emerged. Indians are optimistic and want to go ahead in life and their need is much beyond the connectivity. We realised we clearly had an opportunity there to help them stay ahead and to give them to build a better tomorrow. While Indians continue to be optimistic, Covid-19 has created uncertainty and more than ever, they require help and support to navigate the tough times and get back to the path of growth. Telecom space is more relevant than ever. Given the way telecos have supported today, their desire to trust is now more than ever.  It is an opportunity to partner them with in their recovery, to help them move forward and together build a better tomorrow.

What’s the idea behind the logo?

We wanted a brand that could stretch across consumers, businesses, geographies, formats and partners. And from a design system perspective, what you see is that ‘Vi’ is more than an abbreviation of just V and i 'we' but it also represents the power of the collective and collaboration. And it is also about Indians who have affiliate bonds with everything, may it be family, friends, businesses, communities. The ‘i’ has a bold mustard dot. It is an exclamation mark with the bold mustard dot which is surprising and delightful.

The new logo has been created by Wolff Olins and the work is a collaboration of Wolff Olins, Ogilvy and Vodafone Idea Limited.

Vi’ is the new ‘design system’, which is a lot more dynamic, fluid and flexible, targeted for the new-age digital-first Indians. As part of this design system, we have trails, and the mustard dot, which we call the particle move. It has this playfulness and can unpack amazing possibilities and brings the brand alive for the customer.

For the digital world, it comes out dramatically and when you adapt it to the physical world, it looks spectacular. It can really surprise people, it delights people but is not confusing. People can relate to it.

What does your promotional strategy for this new identity look like? How different it is from regular promotional activities given the Covid-19 situation?

We wanted to build rapid awareness towards the new brand identity and wanted to do this very quickly. So strategically, we wanted to do this awareness part first so that soon we can start building more stories and relevance with our customers. I think the critical part was to figure out the mediums to communicate this amid the pandemic.

I think the biggest step is to handhold our customer and carry them forward to the new brand. We have sent personal communication e-mail or SMS to all customers. We have launched AR filters where customers can put their photos with the new brand; they can create their own caller tunes, win prizes on spotting the log on the app, etc.

We used TV, digital and print for the announcement. It is a week-long campaign and once the roadblocks finishes, we will continue with the mix of TV plus digital media from an awareness building as well as engagement perspective.

Digital and TV play a large role not only amid the crisis but before Covid-19 as well for the reach for us. We did print too for the announcement. For reach perspective, we definitely need TV and digital; print to that extent is also the right medium.

Since when did Ogilvy start working on the logo and the campaign? What kind of effort went into it?

The team has been working on this for the past 12 months or so. We didn’t see this task in silos but everything together and it really shows the spirit of collaboration. It is a true testimony of changing times. And we figured out how it all is possible amid the pandemic. We feel immensely proud to have managed to do it and achieve it. 

How did the brand team feel a day before the launch? What thoughts were going in the mind before the launch?

Totally excited an equally nervous! We were optimistic and thinking that if it creates conversation and buzz, it is going to be really great.

We had three tasks. One was to establish that Vodafone and Idea is now ‘Vi’. Second, we wanted very clearly the sonics and the fact that ‘Vi’ is ‘we’, to be established. And then the positioning of ‘together for tomorrow’.

And the ad, I think, beautifully accomplishes all the three things that we wanted to do.

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