Global telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom, known as T-Mobile in the U.S., was facing unclear perceptions of the product and service brand, which created confusion around core brand values as well as fragmented customer relationships, that subsequently hampered its business performance and impacted building brand equity. Vivaldi was approached to establish a brand measurement system to manage the corporate brand, and its many subbrands, across the 50 or so countries in which it operated.
One of the big issues we faced was not the lack of data but rather the abundance of it, as the company’s comprehensive data had never been integrated into a unified system. With this and the company’s goals in mind, we were able to establish a vision of an operating model across all brands, build a framework to position the brands to capture and leverage synergies, and developed a brand performance management system that combined both quantitative and qualitative components.
The brand performance management system became the basis to resolve several key brand architecture issues and led the way toward establishing a unified branded customer experience. Since our work, Deutsche Telekom has subsequently undergone a hugely successful rebranding effort and become the most valuable European telecom brand, with one source valuing the brand over $33 billion USD.
Understanding the Core
To address the underlying challenges, Vivaldi worked with senior executives to establish a vision of an operating model for brand leadership and brand management of the corporate brand that sits on top of, or is at the center of, strong customer-facing subbrands, each of which are global businesses and strong brands in their own rights. We built a framework to position the brands, to capture synergies and leverage across the broad portfolio of subbrands and to build processes, policies and systems to manage the portfolio of brands.
We had several key questions: how can fairly autonomous and independent operating companies and budget holders be encouraged to collaborate in building a unified single corporate brand? Because the brand architecture reflected primarily the organization chart, instead of how customers bought services from Deutsche Telekom, we asked: how can we create a brand architecture that creates a unified and single view from the customer? What brands need to be merged or eliminated and what new brands with scope across operating companies (or platform subbrands) need to be created? How can brand-building roles and responsibilities be decentralized? What types of guidelines can be established to create brand-building synergies? What efficiencies can be achieved across the various operating businesses in terms of market research, analytics and customer insights?
An important starting point was to build a brand performance management system that would bring facts, data, and analytics about the brands to the various levels of executives in marketing including the CEO of the holding company or corporate brand. One of the big issues we faced was not the lack of data but rather the abundance of it. As a regulated technology company, data were collected routinely across business even though they had never been integrated into a unified system. Data from the CRM or customer support or media spending were typically stored separately.
We evolved the current situation into a brand performance management system in three phases. We identified potential optimization across the existing systems that were in place within each independent operating company. This included identification of purchase drivers, selection of key markets, segments and audiences, inventorying of relevant benchmarks, and the establishment of linkages with business performance figures. In the second phase, we created the individual components of the brand performance system. These included the key brand strategy and performance analysis frameworks, a set of measurement and advanced analytical processes, organizational imperatives and capability building, and finally a portfolio of tools to monitor, diagnose and plan. In the third phase, we executed a large global research program combining both quantitative and qualitative components. We surveyed several thousands of consumers and B2B customers and non-customers via an online survey across key markets and geographies.
Moving into the Spotlight
The process of establishing the brand performance management system proved to be as important as the system itself. Over the course of several months, Vivaldi facilitated numerous workshops at the corporate level, the operating business level and in key country markets. These workshops established the agenda for the multiple CMOs and other marketing personnel to collaborate and coordinate their respective roles and responsibilities and to establish common goals toward a unification of the Deutsche Telekom brand.
The brand performance management system became the basis to resolve several key brand architecture issues. It led the way toward establishing internal processes and creating a unified branded customer experience including guidelines for aligning core customer touchpoints.
While the brand performance management system was an important step in the development of brand management at Deutsche Telekom, it was only the beginning of a larger transformation that the company has experienced. With new senior management and new marketing leadership, Deutsche Telekom has subsequently undergone a hugely successful rebranding effort. Today, the company is one of the most admired brands in the broader telecommunications sector and the most valuable European telecom brand. In its core markets, it has developed strong brand equities as one of the foremost, leading and most innovative technology companies. One source pecks the value of its brand to over $33 billion U.S. dollars.