We developed the tools and strategy needed to create high quality engagement with an online community who were ready and excited about the launch of 4G.
Rapidly scale the EE community while establishing EE as the “most advanced digital communications company.”
It’s not every day that you get to launch a revolutionary brand to the nation. But that’s exactly what happened to us on 11th September 2012 when Everything Everywhere CEO Olaf Swantee stood beside London Mayor Boris Johnson and announced EE, the UK’s “most advanced digital communications company” and the first in Britain to offer superfast 4G alongside their high-speed fibre broadband network.
From that point on and for the first six weeks – between announcement and doors opening – social was the primary means for consumers to learn about and communicate with the newly created brand. This was the first living evidence of EE; there were no shops, no tariffs and no plans. Our communication worked in that vacuum, informing those influencers and customers who wanted to dig deeper and creating the only real brand presence throughout this pivotal, formative time.
Our digital savvy audience needed to feel that EE really were a credible “digital communications company” from their very first contact with us. A creative vehicle was needed; one that would remain consistent while still being open to many responses. #EEFirsts was the concept that held this creative content together.
As a new brand, and the first provider of 4G in the UK, we were able to celebrate all kinds of ‘firsts’. From the first person to post on our timeline, to the first smiley face and even the first EE inspired drawing of a platypus, we used this celebration of newness as an invitation for our users to begin interacting with us. These light, playful gestures sat alongside other content including service, product and support, helping to keep our audience entertained and engaged with our fledgling brand as it took its first baby steps into the world.
As well as the low level content activity, we also needed to highlight the bigger, more ambitious side of EE. To show EE valued the YouTube community, we borrowed a commonly known YouTube reference (Fenton) and created a playful, cinematic homage that saw the iconic pet chasing an elephant, ostrich, unicorn and even a T-Rex, as well as the herd of deer. Perfectly timely, given that it was a year to the day since the original had made it's mark.
To represent the high quality video streaming on 4G, viewers could switch between the original video and the “Fenton 4GEE Remaster”. The symbolic gesture of our nod to the YouTube community didn’t go unnoticed: our EE remastered version went on to become the most viewed UK ad on YouTube for the year.
Other vehicles were conceived to support specific EE offerings. One such example (on the direct advice of the Facebook team) was a focus on creating posts with the potential for virality. This approach helped us turn a simple post supporting an EE film release – Ice Age 4 – into the UK’s second most viral Facebook post of 2012 (after Mothercare’s congratulatory post for Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, no less.
In the first few weeks of the brand launch, social channels played a vital role in communicating the brand and giving it visibility. We created EE Social Hub, a state-of-the art listening centre, complete with a new team and a set of social tools to help EE coordinate, manage and evaluate social intelligence in real-time. Using the Social Hub, we were able to create culturally relevant, witty and shareable content, ensuring the brand had a distinctive and noticeable presence in social channels. It also allowed us to make the most of media budgets by focusing them on the most popular content we created.
This adoption of a ‘social first’ strategy successfully established EE’s personality and did so in a uniquely accessible fashion that broadcast media alone couldn’t achieve. Rather than being peripheral, we showed that social needed to be central and able to react to issues right across the business, not just marketing.
EE is a brilliant case study of advertising's value