'Positive and negative views are part of the chatter when a new brand is formed': Vi's Kavita Nair

The chief digital transformation officer at Vi explains the new brand identity for the Vodafone-Idea merger

Sep 08, 2020 07:21:00 AM | Article | Raahil Chopra

Vodafone and Idea Cellular completed its merger on 7 September and announced the launch of a new identity - Vi.
Campaign India caught up with Kavita Nair, chief digital transfomration officer, Vi, to learn more about the new brand name, IPL plans, her take on the negative views on social media about the brand and more...
Edited excerpts:
What's the reason behind the name Vi?
It’s much more than shortening of our name (Vodafone Idea). It's about the spirit of collaboration and shows bonds people have with their family, community and colleagues across the country. Vi is so much more than an abbreviation, it's an identity built for the digital first world. I personally love this. The logo is dynamic and has so many possibilities that can work through everything we do. The mustard dot as a particle is the dynamic element of the brand which brings it alive. It's flexible for partners too. You'll see this travel across stores etc. 
This brand has been created virtually. It's a true spirit of collaboration and this is what we want the brand to be. Would this output be different if it wasn't a lockdown? I don't think so. I'm proud to share the outputs. This pandemic got customers to realise our role in their life. We have to help them in their recovery and build a better tomorrow. 
The next set of growth for telecom companies is set to come from tier 2, 3 and rural India. Do you believe the name Vi will resonate with this audience?
Yes, it's a very simple name. The simplicity of it will be reaching the whole country including rural India.
The communication so far consists of a film - what else will do you plan to do to communnicate the change?
95 per cent of the 470 stores have already been rebranded. The 5 per cent that haven’t been are in the restricted zone. 
The way we did this – the employees and media got to know about this first. Immediately after that customers got an email and SMS to Ravinder Takkar's (MD and CEO) note. There were also personal 15,000 personal magazines that went out to customers. 
We then had a roadblock across the Zee network for our film. The last time a roadblock of this size happened was when Hutch became Vodafone. This time, the roadblock wasn’t only for TV, but was spread across digital too.
There’s other fun stuff on digital too, where people can record their own voice and get a unique audio file that can be used as a ringtone.  We also have games on the app for our customers - 'Happy Surprises'.
Vodafone has had iconic advertisements around the IPL... What are the plan for this year's tournament?
Yes, there are plans for the IPL again. Part of it is a film that will go on-air during the tournament. 
We have seen negative feedback on the change on social media - what's your take on this?
When a new brand comes in there's a lot of conversation. That conversation will always come with negative views. People are trying to join this conversation and take part. In that they'll have positive reviews and negative reviews. It’s a part of the chatter. It's something that we must be aware about but not get phased by it because there’s a clear strategy in place. There are times when people give negative feedback which is useful. And I always look out for it. If people don't like the logo - I can't make them like it. It's about finding the gems among the negative chatter and working on it because it's about improving the brand. 
For us, some of them were great chatter while some weren’t so great.