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Posted: September 20, 2017

Brand Management

It’s been a notably successful year for Cell C, with the brand celebrating a host of accolades across a number of areas.

Most significant perhaps was the recent valuation of the Cell C brand, made by independent evaluation firm Brand Finance. Cell C was valued at R3.7 billion (a rise of R1.2 billion or 48 percentyear on year), making it the 35th most valuable brand in South Africa in 2018.

This year Cell C also embarked on a rebranding exercise and change of corporate identity. Its corporate colour changed from black to orange and the pay-off line, ‘The Power is in Your Hands’, has been amended to ‘Connect Your Way’. Rather than seeing the change as a mere pay-off line, at Cell C, ‘Connect your way’ is perceived as a consumer promise – a promise that must be lived by all employees as part of an internal campaign known as the Cell C Way.

The advertising and marketing industry too has recognised the brand – it won a silver Cannes Lion at the recent Cannes Marketing Festival, a prestigious awards ceremony where work from around the world is showcased and judged.
From a consumer perspective, Cell C maintained its position as the second coolest Youth Telco brand, ahead of both MTN and Telkom.

Product innovation has been key to delivering on the brand’s promise and during 2018 a number of innovative products were introduced. These included unlimited free data to stream black with the objective of lowering the barriers to access the black content portal and increase the adoption of the service. In addition, Cell C Fibre continued to grow across South Africa. Cell C’s popular WhatsApp bundles were enhanced with ShoutOut bundles which combine Facebook and WhatsApp usage at attractive prices.

The brand also signed soap opera star Thembsie Matu as the new face of Cell C’s flagship prepaid product, UltraBonus, andalso introduced a new converged offering, MediaPlay, which merges the best of telecommunications (mobile, data and fibre) and content.

Sponsorship is a cornerstone of Cell C’s marketing strategy. This is the fifth year in which Cell C has sponsored the Cell C Sharks, a flagship sponsorship for the brand and one which earns it a high level of annual exposure throughout the Super Rugby and Currie Cup tournaments. Independent research has revealed that the Cell C Sharks is one of the most popular sporting brands in the country, with the sponsorship providing not only a positive brand association, but also the opportunity to engage with fans in their leisure time on a subject they are passionate about.

Another significant sponsorship is Cell C’s involvement with Miss South Africa, which it co-manages and sponsors with Sun International. The pageant celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. Not only does the show remain extremely popular with South Africans, it also gives Cell C the opportunity to leverage its female empowerment initiative. Examples include the extention of the platform by hosting its Women 360 workshops as well as the continuation of the Miss SA internship programme which equips young women with workplace skills. One of the largest areas of success in this sponsorship is on social media platforms, where fans can interact. Social media engagement is extremely high, for example, there were 1.2 million Twitter impressions when Tamaryn Green was crowned this year’s Miss SA.

CSI is an important pillar of the brand and as such, activities undertaken position the brand as a caring and responsible corporate citizen. The most visible initiative in the CSI Arena is ‘Take a Girl Child to Work Day’ which has been running for the past 16 years. In 2018, this national programme was further enhanced with Cell C promoting the sustainability of the initiative and creating awareness around the concept of ‘more than a day’. To this end, Cell C hosts female learners four times per year and supports the bursary and intern programme through the Tomorrow Trust. Take a Girl Child to Work Day attracted 550 corporate companies as well as government this year, with President Cyril Ramaphosa himself hosting female learners. Another addition was the launch of Cell C Girl, an online platform that allows access to educational resources as well as economic and employment opportunities.

On the digital side, Cell C forged a partnership with Choma Dreams Cafés with the brand providing ICT access to 40 innovative youth hubs in Gauteng and Kwazulu Natal. This initiative aligns to Cell C’s objective of bridging the digital divide and providing an increasing number of South Africans with access to digital platforms and information.

Other CSI initiatives where Cell C is involved are MomConnect, an online support programme for pregnant women and new mothers; Cell C Kindness (a national and ongoing programme which promotes random acts of kindness) and Cell C Employee Volunteerism, where employees are encouraged to donate their time to helping others and worthy causes.
According to Brand Finance, Cell C was the joint fastest growing brand of 2018; clear evidence that the brand’s commitment to its consumers and sound corporate citizenship has paid off, despite the competitiveness of the telecommunications market.