The global pandemic has forced Vodafone to think more closely about its purpose and serving the needs of its customers, according to the telco’s Customer + Marketing Director Maria Koutsoudaki.

Speaking at MAD//Anywhere last month, Koutsoudaki said coronavirus had prompted Vodafone to elevate its purpose – ‘keeping customers connected’ – to be the driver of its daily business actions.

Koutsoudaki added that the disruption caused by coronavirus had led Vodafone to be less obsessed with its competitors and more focused on customer sentiment: “Telco has always been incredibly competitive. Sometimes we spend longer focusing on the competition than on what our customers need. It’s become super important to keep an eye on the customer. Every Friday we now review PR coverage and sentiment on social media so we can stay in touch.”

According to Koutsoudaki, Vodafone has embraced a fail and learn approach and acted swiftly to pull advertising that doesn’t hit the mark: “Things will go wrong, that’s fine, we learn from them and move on. We shot our first ad out of lockdown in July, learned a lot, canned it, and didn’t put it on air. Since then we’ve shot four new ads. The creativity hasn’t been lost with the Covid way of working.”

Koutsoudaki ended a fast-paced session by calling for marketing teams and agencies to work collectively to adapt to challenges: “In this moment of being separated and needing to move really quickly and be high energy, high innovation, in touch with the customer and pivot on a breath, you need to rely on your team and agencies.

“We’ve leaned into each other, rolled up our sleeves and gotten into the nitty-gritty together to get through this crisis together. That’s important as the plan you had yesterday isn’t necessarily the one you’ll execute tomorrow.”

All video sessions from MAD//Anywhere are available now on our YouTube channel.