On Friday my phone broke. Although worse still, it didn’t break in the dramatic way that warrants a new phone straight away, instead it meekly faltered – the 4/S key stuck fast. A key that happened, frustratingly, to be part of my PIN code. Anyway, the point of this anecdotal rant is to highlight the confusion, indecision and dread that comes with choosing your next phone. A decision that I came all too intimate with and geek-freak knowledgeable of when I worked for two (felt longer) weeks on the Virgin Media account at RAPP.
RAPP is part of the Omnicom group, and a key digital/direct marketing/social media player, widely considered to be the ‘below the line’ brother to DDB. It is currently working to the tune of “where brands live now” – meaning that they are really enthuisastic about the digital sphere being the new consumer talking place, and forward thinking about using new technologies (that still retain that money-talking “data insight”). As such, for a tweeting, blogging, facebook-slagging intern like myself, RAPP is a really exciting place to work. Although, I have left as envious as ever of people who really know their computers (alas mainly Macs) and can be creative without be hindered by that annoying discrepancy between expressing your idea through a drawing (hello stick men), and the idea itself (much better). Plus, with a presentation on eye tracking technology mid-week, I was also left with some futuristic tit-bits to entertain (and admitedly impress) my non-advertising friends with.
I was put to work on the planning section of the Virgin Media account, which was a double yes as Virgin is a very British, exciting brand to work with, and I also really wanted to experience what being a planner was all about. In the 2 weeks, my answer is phones. Working to create a presentation on creative themes, points of difference, target audience, prices, basically you-name-it, of Britain’s main mobile network providers, meant that I got a comprehensive, thorough dunking into the changing, swirling waters of O2, Orange, T-mobile and co. So with the ironic twist of now being put in the position of choosing a new phone (and potentially contract), I am at a lost with choice, new considerations to be made. Planning is all about condensing information to stimulate those creative sparks – sparks that have to be lit in a certain way, informed by insight of the consumer and by spreadsheets, websites and meetings-worth chunks of information. With this in mind, planning the mobile deal, to use a cliche – “right for me”, seems a challenge.
Do I go down the price route? Surprisingly little variance between providers.
Choose the network with the complementary extras? Massive fanfare about O2 priority moments right now.
Be “smart” and buy the best smartphone deal? Appealing to customers’ intelligence was a major theme.
Or go for that Christmas deal? Because seeing “time running out”, shocks me into making that impulse buy.
With all that to consider, at least I can quite positively say that I did learn a great deal during my time at RAPP. Even if I remain the customer stereotype of “encouraged by price, worried by long contract, gadget-loving” young female, who still cannot make up her mind.