Following the arrival of Shadi Halliwell as chief marketing officer in 2017, Three embarked on a new social strategy focused on creating reactive social media campaigns. Studio Three aims to address that need. Opened in late December 2018, the studio was conceived in collaboration with Three’s social agency, Gravity Road.
Halliwell said: "We’re breaking new ground in terms of our engagement versus the industry, creating a more fluid conversation between consumer and brand. I really see [Three] as a life-enhancing product; research tells us people would rather lose their house keys than their phones."
Located in the basement of Three's Oxford Street flagship store, the space is divided into several distinct areas. There is office space for the social and PR team, a creative studio for content creation, a lounge area for influencers and an event space.
Rachael Courtney, lead social strategy at Three UK, said that the studio represents "a real opportunity to do things differently". She dded: "We loved the idea of having a physical space within central London that could bring our online world into the real world. Somewhere we could create content in an agile, cost-effective way both directly from our in-house team but also by co-creating content with some of the most creative social creators out there."
With the ability to shoot video, photography and live streams and record podcasts, the content studio has seen Three turn around complete projects in response to current events. For example, the Three Brexit bus in March that warned consumers of potential rising roaming fees was edited and delivered entirely from this Oxford Street location.
Creators and influencers are also encouraged to use the space regularly. The lounge area is designed as a place where they can work, have meetings or just relax. Courtney explained: "We’ve always found that stronger relationships are formed with creators and influencers when discussions don’t happen between agents and agencies. We always prefer to talk direct – it helps them get to know who we are and what the brand stands for and tends to be more fruitful for both parties in the long run."
The event area can host up to 45 people and has seen the launch of products from Three’s partners such as Samsung as well as internal events, with future plans to hold more regular, customer-focused events. It will also continue to serve Three’s partners and feature more involvement from brands Three does not currently have a direct relationship with.
On the new direction of Three's social content, Halliwell said: "We are a brand in our own right and we are connecting people to the things that they love. We want to be much more in tune with people's lives and be culturally relevant, and this space allows that."