Vodafone - Business Made Simple

Case study - Objective: Change minds


In 2015, Vodafone UK launched its global enterprise platform, Ready Business. It had a positive impact within the private and public sectors, but the SME audience remained a challenge: consideration was circa 10% behind the other audience segments. This was because the SME audience don’t consider themselves business people, but people with businesses.

Therefore, Vodafone embarked on a ground-breaking, 360˚ partnership with The Guardian to engage and support SMEs by simplifying the complex world of business communication. A key strategic requirement was to produce relevant content in a trusted voice, something The Guardian activity achieved with both authority and humour.

Including expert opinion, case studies and practical advice, the integrated campaign was able to dig into the issues faced by SMEs in an accessible, snackable way – perfect for a time poor audience. At the heart of the campaign was a series of snappy 2-minute video vignettes featuring comedian Jessica Hynes as ‘self-styled business guru’ Connie Taylor; the stereotypical business leader who baffles most SMEs with jargon. Vodafone was positioned as the voice of simplicity and reason.  

This was supported via social media and in character articles both in paper and on Guardian.com. Other activity included ‘Meet the mentor’ podcasts, 50 bespoke content articles and a series of networking events.

Key findings

According to pre, mid and post wave independent research carried out by YouGov:

  • Over 1.2 million unique users were exposed to the content (target: 900,000) and podcast downloads were at 40,000 (target: 10,000)
  • Nearly one in four Guardian readers (24%) recalled the campaign, the highest recall that The Guardian has seen on any B2B campaign
  • 42% of those that recalled the campaign said the content had significantly improved their opinion of the Vodafone brand while 64% said that the content made them feel more positive about the brand
  • 71% of those who recalled the campaign have taken some action as a result

Vodafone’s Business Made Simple partnership with The Guardian represents a step change in how we engage key business audiences. It provided ongoing, engaging content and events in the most targeted environment.

Lisa Walker, head of media and sponsorship, Vodafone UK