Vodafone to target smartphone users in brand revamp

LONDON - Vodafone is set to launch a new tagline, sponsorship strategy and app store as part of its biggest marketing revamp in four years.

Speaking to the Sunday Times Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said the telecoms company was dropping its "Make the most of now" strapline in favour of "Power to you". The new line will start appearing in the next six weeks.

Colao said the aim is to put Vodafone at the forefront of the consumer switch to Smartphones.

He said: "It's not the brand talking anymore and telling the consumer what to do. It is the customer who will decide.

"I am trying to steer the whole company in this direction."

The campaign follows the instalment of former Talk Talk managing director Wendy Becker as chief marketing officer in July. Vodafone spends around £600m a year on advertising.

Vodafone has come under increasing pressure in the UK consumer market where other operators, especially O2, are perceived to have stolen a march on the company. O2 struck an exclusive UK deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in 2007 while T-Mobile has also been looking to circumvent this deal by importing sim-free phones from abroad.

With the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, Vodafone could be pushed into third place in the market.

Colao admitted the strength of Vodafone's business operation in the UK had held it back the marketing of its consumer arm.  

Vodafone's continued £4m sponsorship of the England cricket team has also come under scrutiny.

The deal expires later this year leaving Vodafone's backing of McClaren-Mercedes as its only major commitment. Colao said Vodafone was looking at other sponsorship opportunities.

The telecoms company is also launching an App Store selling applications that are available from other providers.

The move is part of its strategy to align itself more closely with the use of smartphones.