T-Mobile’s strategy was to create an event which shows life is better shared. The theme was picked up from the cultural trend of sharing on different platforms with different devices. People tend to share their experiences, feelings and thoughts with each others, and are engaged on daily basis in different conversations. Thus, by creating the event, all the participants will find themselves sharing their experience with T-Mobile in a massive karaoke party. In a way, the brand gave them a memorable experience to share with each others and talk about it in different platforms through different media. T-mobile’s consumers became vital participant in building the brand’s promise, “Life is for sharing”.
This promise which came from the social media sharing trend, and through this platform, it communicated the brand story. Social networks, for instance, made consumers much more influential by sharing information that the companies have ceded exclusive control of the marketing function. From this perspective, the companies should bear in mind before planning a marketing communication campaign that the customer is no longer passive receiver of the brand message, and he won’t be engaged with brand story if this later is not relevant to his frame of reference.
Frame Of Reference
The frame of reference of T-Mobile’s target audience was basically around sharing content in social media about experience they lived, besides, the music and Reality TV trend (the X-Factor show). T-Mobile, thus, combined those elements in their story line to engage with them. A story is an accounting of one or more experiences involving both episodic and semantic memories”. those memories are stored in popular culture through media, and the marketing elements. Thus, they used experiential marketing to stimulate associations with the brand.
Brands can turn customers into ‘fans’, especially when they connect with consumers’ culture. That’s why brand managers must evaluate, emulate and infiltrate the core culture of their customers. The story of “Life is for Sharing” built around the target audience frame of reference, did not only raise engagement with them, but also, helped T-Mobile to gain friends and even fans rather than customers. Basically this is the aim of every company, to turn their customers into fans since they are loyal to the brand. However, another approach can be seen the other way round, which turning fans to friends and then into customers, this can be better illustrated in the “life is for sharing” campaign. Audiences, became fans of T-Mobile’s dance, or karaoke’s events, they share it and talk about it on social media platform, in a second stage they get involved with the company’s channels (YouTube channel, Facebook page, blogs, company’s website) in order to have updates and information they are familiar with (frame of reference) and in a last stage, they become customers with a fan’s profile.
the brand with the best story wins
According to Jensen and Jepsen (2006), “the brand with the best story wins” in this context, T-Mobile used all elements of marketing communication from a brand narrative approach to make a story around the brand, and used media effectively to help constructing meanings lying behind “Life is for sharing”. According to Sam Taylor, Head of Advertising and Sponsorships of T-Mobile (www.thinkbox.tv), the question is, was it an event/ PR/ content/ Viral/ Advertising. To answer this question, it is mandatory to go back to different media usage in order to make the event happens to deliver content in order to spark viral to achieve PR success in different media thus creating advertisement to different products from the same content.
In order to create the viral marketing, which is a communication strategy to stimulate different stakeholders to pass the campaign message in order to get a massive exposure of the brand message, T-Mobile strategy was to make audience on social network talk about the event, before it starts, during and after the event in Trafalgar Square. The idea was to let audience spread the key message of the campaign which is Life is for sharing, in it a spontaneous way by letting them live exceptional moments that they can’t let it go without twitting about it, sharing it on their Facebook page, commenting about it on YouTube and read what, their favourites online companions, bloggers wrote about it. The strategy was to let the word of mouse carrying the theme of the event in it most effective way. T-Mobile seems to understand the new power of social networking, in this framework, the audience became users themselves and creating content (pictures, videos, notes, blogs, status…), using different platform to interact with each others and share this content between them. For instance, 47% of the UK social consumers wrote a product review online, 43% prompted to purchase after online interaction and 40% have interacted with a brand using Facebook (http://bynd.com). The customer, hence, is no longer a passive participant, who can be exposed to a marketing message through mass media and wait for the response. Thus, the new interactive model of communication should be employed in modern marketing strategies, where the company engage its stakeholders into a brand conversation.
However, in order to spread this story, T-Mobile used mass communication strategy as well, to show people the power sharing. They have taken footages, pictures, live broadcast and launched on TV, radio, press, and billboards in order to reach mass audience and communicate with them at a distance. This model of communication has less engaging content and audiences are considered as passive receivers of message. This is how it seems, at first glance, but, T-Mobile strategy was even broader in using this traditional media format. They played on the fact that the content is engaging enough that the audience will go online and interact with the brand story. Indeed, they used Digital TV that audience went themselves to watch the TV Ad. Also, when considering their target audience media consumption habits, they learnt that they access information through different devices at the same time. For instance they watch TV while surfing the net or using mobile phones. Hence, they took them from passive reception of information to online engagement.
The usage of traditional media didn’t stop there for T-Mobile. For instance, the PR campaign they gained from this event was massive. Different media channels, reporters and journalists where present to talk about the party, and thus the message again delivered through another tool of marketing communication, which is strategic in building long-term brand image and lasting positive association, especially when the This tool was powerful since it had credibility on the target audience perception away from bombarding the audience with Ads.
Thus, T-Mobile used personal media to get the users involved in the brand story line by producing and receiving messages implemented by the brand strategic story, but also used mass media as reinforcement, carrying out Advertising messages to enhance brand image and positioning.