The Vodafone brand

September 11th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

has been slapped with more fines for Fair Trading Act breaches than any other company but a brand specialist says the telco has dodged major reputation damage by owning up to the wrongdoing.

The phone and internet company was fined $960,000 yesterday after pleading guilty to 21 charges for misleading advertising.

This brought the total fines Vodafone has copped for Fair Trading Act breaches to almost $1.5 million, the highest imposed on a single defendant.

Despite this milestone, Interbrand managing director James Bickford said Vodafone’s apology for its actions would mitigate the harm the offending could have done to its brand.

“They’ve come out and said ‘we’ve made an error’ and apologised for it,” Bickford said.

“As far as the brand is concerned, that’s what it should be doing,” he said.

Vodafone fines

Yesterday: $960,000 for misleading advertising over a free air-time deal and the coverage of its wireless broadband network.
November 2011: $81,900 for misleading customers over “$1 a day” mobile data charges.
August 2011: Fine $400,000 for misleading customers over its Vodafone Live! service.

While it does mitigate the damage to have Vodafone admit their mistakes and apologise for it, I think their brand is being damaged by the third fine for misleading advertising in a year.

Telecom are no longer the big bad bully. Having lost Chorus, they no longer have a structural advantage. Vodafone is the giant global brand, and they need to be careful that their brand doesn’t suffer any more damage. With 2 degrees also in the market, loyalty is far from guaranteed.

Tags:

12 Responses to “The Vodafone brand”

  1. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Perhaps Telecom should change it’s name? That would re-enforce the idea that they are now a different company, and further divorce them from the old days.

    I don’t accept that Vodafone admitted their mistakes, if they keep making ‘em those apologies are clearly not real.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    I think there’s also an element of it “only” being $1.5 mill over those three cases, compared with the $12million that Telecom was fined for anti-competitive behaviour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Perhaps legislation should be altered to provide for a $20 million fine for such repeated offending. That might get their attention. We need to learn from the Americans when it comes to dealing with miscreant corporates.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Vodafone are absolute crooks and have market dominance yet they still somehow manage to portray themselves as the small guy who cares about their consumers and Telecom are the big evil corporate and it’s all their fault! I have been a customer with both and I would never go back to Vodafone as I have been ripped off so many times!

    I agree with scrubone an apology only mitigates the first “mistake” after that you are in the habit of ripping off customers!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    No loyalty to any of the fukkers from me.

    I remember pricing up smartphone plans a year ago… Couldn’t figure out why Vodafone thought I’d pay an absolute premium over T. for the privilege of having my cellphone with them…?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    The media have decided that Telecom is A Bad Company and all coverage is now slanted to reflect that. Little chance of any contradictory facts getting much column space.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    I much prefer Telecom over vodafone.

    I knew their botched 3g launch would only be a temporary glitch and they do have the best network.

    I did have vodafone for quite some time, but, I always had difficulty using their 3g on my iphone. Swapped to telecom and it works really well.

    Post-gattung Telecom is actually a pretty decent outfit. She was a disaster IMHO. Although, her infamous confuse and obfuscate speech was very amusing (and so true for many corporations).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. BillODrees (94 comments) says:

    Vodafone has got away with playing the ” underdog” and “consumer’s champion” bullshit for far too long. They have extracted a phenomenal amount of profit from the pockets of Kiwi’s and into their UK shareholders coffers. The level of investment has been minimal for years. The focus now will be on the Telstra merger. The mobile consumers will be sucked dry to fund that very expensive purchase. Kiwis loose everytime they they use this foreign predator. Gen-i and Telecom provide quality technology and customer service. And it is our company.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    Quite right Bill, Vodafone paid special dividends back to the UK of over $1 billion several years ago!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    Vodafone isn’t so bad – the real cnuts in NZ telecoms industry are Telstra – absolute twats, and the worst customer service I’ve ever dealt with in my life.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    I have been a vodafone user for as long as I can recall. There service has deteriorated to the point where I will be switching when my contract expires. Telecom are not only cheaper but offer better tailored plans

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. KH (695 comments) says:

    Vodafone are demonstrated as consistent crooks. The corporate style ‘apology’ don’t change that. They will continue to push it as far as they can, and beyond if they calculate the benefits outweigh the sanctions.
    Vodafone regards these fines just as a cost of doing business. Scum.
    All the money overcharged should go back, huge fines on top, and substantial prison time for the individuals. The latter I believe would be the most effective.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote