[Marketer of the Week] Eva Ruiz, Head of Marcom & Brand, Vodafone Netherlands
This week, Vodafone declared a new agency policy. We spoke with Eva Ruiz, Head of Marcom & Brand, Vodafone Netherlands.
Vodafone decided that the company does not want to continue working with a lead agency. Why did you choose a more flexible agency model?
"It was not necessarily my intention to throw that stone, but for us a necessary step to take if I am realistic in order to adapt to how the world is changing. Main reason I would like to go to a different model is basically the reality out there and how the communications landscape has changed in the last 2 years. Everything is moving quicker than ever, our industry is extremely dynamic, I want to be closer to our customers and that all means we need to be much more agile, having the capacity to move quick, with shorter communications lines and the more traditional model feels a bit rigid moving forward."
After five years you stopped working with your advertising agency They. Why?
"Having to leave THEY is unfortunately the consequence of taking a higher responsibility as a team in the “regie” of this brand. I want us to take a stronger, bigger lead. We will be managing a higher amount of our communications in-house, especially on areas like digital, social or PR. And next to that we will work together with other agencies and/or individuals that will join us to further build this brand."
The internal brand team must take the lead now. Did you have to extend the team?
"In principle we will not be extending the team. It is not necessarily so that the amount of work will increase that much. Our team is built in a way that allows us to be that spin on the web. Our structure has also transformed in the last 18 months to be able to do this. For example, we have a Social Brand team which is responsible for Social Media and Marketing PR, with a lot of the work being done in house already. We have a strong Brand Strategist looking into the future, but also supporting the team on current running campaigns when looking at communications strategy."
Vodafone wants to work with specialized agencies but also with individuals. Will you be working with freelancers?
"For us it is about talent, vision but more importantly creative power. That is where we need to partner with agencies and individuals to help us. If at the right moment that is a zzp’er, that is what we will do. In a way that is already how some of our agencies work by partering themselves sometimes with external people."
Regarding your new agency model, do you expect other advertisers will follow?
"I really wouldn’t know, I guess it depends on the company, the industry, the phase they are in. I think everyone needs to look for what works best for them. But I do think that same as we need to review or even revise our models in the corporate environment, the advertising industry will also have to look into different structures in the future."
How does Vodafone distinguish itself from other players in the field?
"We try to constantly challenge ourselves, our competitors and the industry in general. It is in our DNA to innovate, to push the boundaries, and that goes both internally and externally. In the way we develop products and services but also how we express ourselves in our communications. We have 6 different target audiences within the consumer and the enterprise space and we try to build a brand and communications that are relevant to each of those 6 segments, we could go with “one size fits all” but we don’t. Power to you has a very clear goal: we are here to empower and connect you in the best possible way. It is not so much about what Vodafone has to say, but how relevant is it for the end receiver? With that in mind, our team is organized in segments, everyone works for a specific customer group, so it is about them and not about our business lines. Only then you can really put the customer at the centre. And I believe that this is what it can differentiate Vodafone. It is not easy, it is intensive, it takes a lot more effort but I am convinced that our customers will see that, and it won’t happen overnight, but it will in the end."
How long have you been working for Vodafone?
"I have been working for Vodafone for about 8.5 years, always in the Marketing Communications department, with different functions, from program and integration management, to Manager Campaigns to my current function about 1.5 years ago."
What does Vodafone do in marketing communications that other don't?
"That is more difficult for me to answer, since I am right in the middle of it. I think we could be defined as inspirational and intelligent if you would ask the people that are in contact with the Firestarters program for example, bringing fun and somewhat more educational connectivity for example with TVOH or the fact that we bring things with a little bit of a twist like in our latest 4G campaign."
What did you do before you joined Vodafone?
"I come from the agency side. In Spain I used to be a copywriter. When I moved to The Netherlands in 2000 I came to join Cirque du Soleil in the European offices in Amsterda, and then I went to Wunderman before I joined Vodafone."
Which social media do you use?
"Instagram would be the one I use the most as I like taking photos. Two passions of mine are travelling and food and that’s what I shoot the most. I am active on Twitter, not that much I must say, but I use it mainly related to work, same goes for Linkedin, I follow a couple of people in Vine, I mark special places on Foursquare and I am on Facebook to keep in touch with friends here but especially from abroad. The usual suspects and that is already quite some work to keep up with."
Can you describe yourself in 5 brands?
"Six Senses, Brandt&Levie, Netflix, Innocent, Artis."
What are your ambitions as a marketer?
"My ambition is to have a good influence out there, internally and externally. My biggest satisfaction is to see that what we have created has a good effect, that customers receive it positively. I am inspired every day to do things better, not only from a communications/brand perspective but also as a leader. My ambition is to build very strong teams that will be ready to face any challenge and be driven to thrive under any circumstance. With that foundation you can achieve great things."
What are your favorite media brands?
"De Correspondent, Condé Nast Traveller, Radio3 (from Spain), BBC, Brain Pickings."