What was the catalyst to a campaign that encouraged an older demographic to engage customers in Vodafone’s stores? The good old focus group.

Vodafone’s average customer age is 55. And yet, a typical employee in one of their retail stores is only 20 years old, and usually male. Research had told them that this age gap made some of their customers uncomfortable when asking questions about handsets and tariffs in their stores.

So our task was clear: we had to create a campaign that would attract retail professionals aged 35+, and ideally female, to work for Vodafone.

First came the research. We ran two focus groups with retail professionals in this age bracket and quickly found out what they perceived to be barriers to working in a Vodafone store: they would need previous technology experience, targets would be unrealistic and shifts would be inflexible.

In reality, Vodafone doesn’t require any technical experience – they are much more interested in someone’s people skills. What’s more, they’d already scrapped their commission-based structure, instead opting for a higher salary to encourage better customer service levels. And finally, they pride themselves on being a flexible employer, to the extent that have their own internal programme for it, called ‘Better ways of working’.

Our campaign aimed to address all of these misperceptions. Called ‘Ten till tea’, it showed how Vodafone has created flexible shifts for people who need a role that fits around childcare or other commitments. The copy, meanwhile, pressed home the fact that technology experience wasn’t important – and that people skills were what really mattered.

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