Client: MTN Nigeria
Project: MTN Vs The People (Per Second Billing): Strategic PR
Synopsis: MTN came into Nigeria with a vision statement to be the clear leader and the best telecom service provider. It launched itself into the high end of the market as a premium brand personality and would not compromise that position for any reason. Our consultancy has been appointed since 2003 to drive that vision with MTN by way of ensuring that every of its corporate service and brand promotional objectives are achieved
Situation Analysis: Client, in the face of stiff competition from two majors, one extremely hostile and the other was newly repackaged and properly funded, decided it was time to do a comprehensive price cut if its clear leadership of the market was not to be threatened. The entire preparation was to be a top secret operation to avoid giving critical information away to espionage inclined competition. Should a word leak to competition, it meant a competing network could quickly rush to market with the same offering. Since this is a market that offers extremely generic services, such action would truncate the foundation upon which client had built its entire marketing plan for the next couple of years. MTN would have lost the initiative on price reduction as route-to-heart of the customer to a competitor for the second time and reinforced its image as mean with money and exploitative, an image which had taken years to diffuse.
The Challenge: The above scenario compelled a situation where client was compelled to brief consultancy for the first time only 72 hours to the landmark event that would herald the most important marketing event of several years. We were to plan and execute a world press conference, ensure attendance by a list of over 100 media personalities, coverage by radio, print, TV and other media and use the opportunity to help MTN seize the position of customer champion in the telecoms sector.
Our Strategy: Our rallying cry was: “With MTN, airtime has become as cheap as pure water.” This simple line made it easy to convey the essence of an approximate 40% across board price cut, the introduction of a totally new range of services, free night calls and many other customer friendly packages. Though the line itself did not make it to most of our content, it nevertheless helped to anchor the message for clarity to our media partners.
Tactics: After the event and immediate post-event coverage, which was extremely successful, we dug in and helped to build an unparalleled quantity and quality of media content which drowned out the competition. Using print as lead medium, consultancy developed enough materials to keep copy editors busy for weeks while at the same time calling on our strong network and deploying client’s media buying clout to advantage, among innovative tactics.
Results: Despite the fact that a major competitor went to town in less than a week to present a very close offering to the public, that made relatively little impact because of the commanding domination of the media we achieved for MTN for weeks. Advertising support did not come for almost three weeks post-launch but it did not make much of a difference. The overall results of this enterprise proved so successful in achieving set objectives that client had to do a written commendation to consultancy.
We are tremendously proud of our work on this project. It was an exemplar in all ramifications, from the financing (entirely borne by consultancy) to the quality of invites (over a weekend) to the excellent event management (48hours to plan and mobilise) to the post event leveraging (exceeding deliverables by over 500%). It is also a testimony to what can be achieved when client and consultancy understand and trust each other so well that they can speak from the same page.