Vodafone New Brand Review

Vodafone, one of the most notable brands in recent history is refreshing its image. Its scary to think that they are changing a logo which I consider is still one of the strongest brands even in its old format. Times change and so should we so I have decided to do a quick review of the change and share my thoughts, of course comments are most welcome.

The Strategy

Vodafone is one of the largest mobile telecommunications network company in the world. They are in my option an excellent example of a company which utilizes its brand to create the best image it can. From sponsoring Manchester Unity's football shirts to mailers that come through the letter box the brand is always very well executed and extremely recognizable.

Vodafone's brand is not simply based around selling telephones. The brand is all about people, communication and fun. How do they communicate this? I think its who they partner with. For example Manchester United Football Club and Ferrari and the England Cricket Team are all sponsored by Vodafone (to name but 3). This means we associate these things with Vodafone as a brand. I believe this strategy is extremely well done. If you consider that most of their sponsorships are done with existing brands which share their corporate colour it reinforces their prestige by almost piggy backing on already well established brands which only benefits their persona. Also their is alot of positivity in going into the top sports and aligning your brand with top flying sports companies. It shows competitiveness, strength, glory and again all the positive things we associate with the sports are carried across to Vodafone's brand.

Their online strategy seems to be very advanced as well with national websites with supporting marketing sites working as viral campaigns. The quality of their future ideas marketing website is phenomenal - click on the link form this page to view the Vodafone Future Website. Ok its not accessible but it is supported by an accessible corporate site. They also utilize e-newsletters and banner campaigns. I think they know how to use the web to its full advantage.

Their advertising campaigns and printed material is always very well refined with the messages being extremely simple and practical. Hats off to the side of things as well!

On a more personal level they are very good at public relations. You only have to their website to see that they worry (or at least say they worry) about health issues, mobile theft and quality assurance. All things that the general Joe on the street may have concerns about. On top of all this they have an extremely good sales force (I have just recently used them) and returns policy (yep I used this also) and their phone systems are, in my short experience very easy to get though to speak to an adviser (this is UK not sure about the rest of the world). Anyway the point is that from the high level sponsor ships to the low level sales call these guys always give off a positive persona. Its all about people and communication and they do this very well.

The Logo

So they know how to market themselves and they have a strong brand essence. This in my mind is empowered by a simple and effective logo. The original logo was in the shape of a SIM card, red, with a modern typeface and a speech mark emblem - all of which covey the mobile and communication message bound up in a slick corporate look. See below:

old vodafone logos

In later years the SIM card shape was dropped which increased the power of the brand and simplified it (see above left). This was the brand that was placed on the Manchester United shirts and Ferrari cars. The red referring to both brands. See below:

Manchester United Shirt
So as I say, very powerful an effective. However recently I was sent a printed mailer from vodafone showing this new logo:

New Vodafone Logo

After a little research I saw it popping into the New Zealand Vodafone website and various other sites around the world. I am sure that we will soon be seeing it being used in all new Vodafone marketing materials as they have started to use it on all their new phones and latest marketing activities -although on the UK website and .com website the old one is displayed at the moment. For example see this banner:

vodafone banner

Now in my view this new style is fantastic. It has breathing space which brings impact. It looses a little on the simplicity but it gains on the sophistication creating a soft 3d effect which brings this logo right up to date. I think as logo designers we tend to keep things very flat but the truth is in today's world of digital technology we don't need to worry as much about keeping things in block colours. Vodafone have pushed the boat out and I think that's a great thing. The brand does work in 2 block colours as well as I've seen it on some of their new mobile and this is the move I think we can expect to see alot of large corporates taking. Simple and soft but very effective and modern.

This brand seems to have been inspired by their 3G logo which I think is very weak and too complex. See below:

3G logo

They have stripped all the negative things out of this logo and created yet again another wonderful example of how to design and market themselves in the best possible way. So I believe there are alot of good lessons to be learnt in the Vodafone brand, lessons which I hope, can help move other market leading brands on into the 21st centaury.

If you have any comments on Vodafone's activity please share them by placing a comment below. Thanks for reading.


it reminds me a bit of the Sony Ericcson logo

well Attitude, you went all out for that one! nice read man!

I'm definately not convinced by the 3G logo, like Matt said it's too complex, it looks a bit like somebody went overboard with a photoshop filter, plastic wrap anyone? ;)

It looks like it's been very influence by the logo of their competitor http://www.three.com/

By the way, Matt, do you know who created this new design for Vodafone?

No Mike, I assume its done in house - anyone else know?

what's gonna happen when vodafone finally becomes Softbank Mobiles?

Is Vodafone still spondsor Manchester Unitied club? I see their players has AIG on their jersyes.

They pulled out of the sponsorships because they became the sponsor of the champions league

I like it!
It looks like it’s been very influential

Superb as always Vodafone

I thought I'd write this to clarify the origins of the Vodafone logo. The original idea (until the sim card was bolted on around 2002-2004 by an unknown agency) was focussed entirely on the speech mark icon. I should know as I created the Vodafone speech mark identity in 1997/98 whilst creative director of brand identity design consultant, Springpoint (which we sold to the Interpublic group in 2000). In 2004 ish Vodafone had a change of management and began working with Interbrand who added the '3D' effect. Personally, I'm no great fan of 3D logos - it was fashionable at the time and many brands adopted it as it became easier to managed from a production point of view. That said, it's much the same icon I created way back. If you wish to see more on the case history, check out my Behance profile.