Is Vodafone’s sale of Verizon related to its new identity?

by Alex Benady

It has been a busy 24 hours for Vodafone.  Last night it completed the second biggest deal in corporate history when it sold its stake in US phone network Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for £84bn.

But earlier in the day a lesser story was reported in Marketing Magazine.  With virtually no fanfare Vodafone announced that it is to roll out its first new ‘global identity’ since 2005.

The work by our WPP stable-mate Brand Union features a red rhombus shape emerging from Vodafone’s inverted comma logo. Apparently it is all about demonstrating the company’s “confident energy and progression.”

The question that intrigues me is, what do these two events say about the relationship between corporate identity and corporate strategy?

Is there a relationship between the two? In theory, at least, the former is the servant of the latter. Many think that corporate identity is central to the process of strategic management.

At first my guess was that that these two events had little or no relation to each other.

A new global identity is likely to have taken at least a year to develop. But Vodafone ceo Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao told the BBC last night that the Verizon sale wasn’t part of any grand plan, it was a tactical response to an offer they just couldn’t refuse: “We got an offer that we thought was in the interests of our shareholders,” he said.

But according to the BBC, Colao, has been spent the last couple of years engaged in selling assets around the world where the company does not have full control.

A spokesman described the new identity as “a true representation of Vodafone – never static, always moving.”

While it seems unlikely that the identity and the acquisition were specifically coordinated in any way, they do seem to bear a family resemblance. “Confident energy and progression” isn’t a bad way to describe the divestment of Verizon.

So my guess is now that the identity and the sale, while not deliberately coordinated, were informed by exactly the same thinking. Which is exactly how it should be.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This blog is about all the things that inspire us as we make brands beautiful: insights and ideas, points of view, fabulous work, nascent trends - all the things that excite us and help us to see new possibilities for the brands we work on. So please enjoy, add your comments, forward the link, and come back and see us. We’ll be posting regularly.