Trial by jury

03 Dec 2009|Added Value

200249331-001Most of us spend our lives avoiding conflict.  But there’s nothing quite like a good argument to clear the air.  A moment to state your case and hear the response of your opponent.

For Added Value, conflict was just the ticket to answering a tough client challenge in a way that changed how the client looked at their brand. And won the team the Crème de la Crème WPPed Cream Award in the Information, Insight and Consultancy Category.

It all started with a changing market.  Vodafone is one of the leading mobile providers in the world, competing with the likes of Orange, O2 and T-mobile. But, the battlefield for market share is moving progressively from pure mobile telecommunications to total communications, with all kinds of competitors popping up to challenge the status quo. Newcomers like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Cisco, for example, are all making their play to lead the future world of communication.

Vodafone needs new ways to understand what they are up against and how they can deal with this changing competitive set, both collaboratively and competitively.

The Added Value team based in London and headed up by Peter Drinkwater*, could see the challenge.  They approached Vodafone with a bold new idea; to turn focus groups into conflict courts and let passionate, progressive consumers fight it out for the supremacy of their favourite brand.

As anyone who’s had a dinner party knows, debate fuelled by conflict or disagreement brings far more energy and passion to a discussion than friendly chats around areas of consensus.

The team used this to design a methodology that harnessed conflict in a strict courtroom-style environment.  Champions of each competitor brand were pitched against a team of vocal Vodafone supporters to decide who would emerge as the undisputed communications champion on the future.

After some upfront discussion, the teams took to the stand to present their case to a jury of impartial swing voters.  For dramatic effect, the jury revealed their final verdict using branded show cards.

The only client deliverable was an edited film of the conflict courts.  Outspoken, vocal consumers vigorously debating the role of Vodafone in the future of the communications industry.

When the new Vodafone European CEO saw it, he described it as ‘one of the best things he’d ever seen’ and used it to open his first ExCo meeting.

The adversarial approach had revealed a rich vein of insight into consumers’ perceptions of the brand and revealed some pretty hard truths to the Vodafone team. As a result Vodafone are now recalibrating their perceptions of themselves and their competition globally.

*Peter is now based in our Sydney office. Email him if you’d like more information.

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