The launch of a new brand identity is an exciting opportunity, but it’s no easy task. What’s new? What’s important? And why should customers pay attention? When mobile network EE asked us to create their retail experience from scratch, our team delivered a result that would redefine ‘telco’ shopping.
Formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile in 2010, the Everything Everywhere (or EE) brand was unleashed two years later. With competitors slow to capitalise on UK consumers’ growing appetite for mobile data, the chance to own this territory was waiting.
Spanning interior design, communications and video content for EE’s retail stores and training academy, our work firmly positioned the brand as a modern, digital network built for today’s mobile consumer. One that not only offered the full benefits of 4G (which no other network could), but one that also offered a new kind of retail experience no other would.
Less high street. More easy street.
Pilot store retail design
Insight from our research told us customers were tired of traditional mobile stores and their commission-chasing staff. And they were confused by the new, growing world of smartphones, apps and data. So our store design centred on the concept of ‘Humanising Technology’, offering visitors a place they could learn about new technology in a relaxed way, without the usual pressure from a salesperson.
An initial trial of five stores opened in 2010, testing key elements of both our retail proposition and customer understanding of the Orange, T-mobile and EE brand relationship. The stores quickly became a success – exceeding sales targets, gaining the highest NPS scores of the business’s retail estate, and launching the fully-merged EE brand itself. Rolling out as a flagship format and in 24 further locations, the store concept also scooped ‘Best Retail’ at the Marketing Week Awards.
From 0-650 stores in 2 nights
National retail design rollout
Working alongside brand consultancy Wolff Olins and EE’s retail team, we created a highly flexible retail environment that aimed to change the way customers shop for mobile phones. Our rollout kit allowed us to rebrand all store elements across 650 UK locations in just two nights ahead of the launch. On top of this, we also designed smaller experiential units for installation in partner stores to widen the brand footprint even further.
For print and digital promotions, we had to educate consumers on the brand USP as well as drive sales. So our communications hierarchy always showcased the benefits of 4G in an engaging way. And with comms needing to feature a world of ever-changing handsets, third party branded content and more, we also developed a range of digital templates that enabled fast, easy and reusable content creation across media channels.
EE went on to hit their target of signing up 1 million 4G customers three months ahead of schedule
What does a new kind of network look like?
As the new network standard, 4G was at the heart of EE’s launch identity. But as well as articulating its benefits, we also needed to position the brand as a refreshing take on the traditional mobile phone network. Through a series of brand films designed for employees, B2B partners and consumers, we distilled the essence of the EE proposition into four key messages and developed narratives that brought these to life.
Key to EE’s look and feel are the animated ‘smart particles’, which form words and objects to show the benefits the network can bring to a consumer’s life. Our photography, film, motion, and VFX teams all played a crucial role in the production of a broad range of creative work for the brand. Including advanced 3D and motion effects across video and digital assets for EE’s network of agencies working on the launch.
Getting the gang on board
Training academy interior design
A new brand doesn’t just have to introduce itself to customers – there are thousands of employees that need to understand its identity too. Leading up to the launch, we were tasked by EE’s brand and HR teams to create an internal space at their Hatfield HQ to help them do exactly that. Known as ‘The House’, it’s designed for training new store staff and introducing business partners to the brand.
Working closely with HR to understand each function the space needed to serve, we created a flexible, modular kit that allows all users to enjoy a seamless experience. And being a UK-based location, we also wanted to capture the more humorous, uniquely British aspects of the brand through the overall aesthetic, comms tone of voice and even the furniture choices.
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