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MEF Director of Programmes James Williams shares a summary of the last live webinar of 2022, where a bumper panel of experts join him to discuss the ins and outs of  brand building in the mobile ecosystem and and how to successfully build and maintain a loyal customer base.

MEF members were very clear in the remit they set for the MEF team at the beginning of 2022 – even more opportunities to interact please! And we answered the call.

Opportunities for members to interact within MEF and indeed outside with the wider ecosystem come in many flavours (think the working groups, MEF in-person events etc,) and a popular one has been our live webinars.

Thursday is webinar day here at MEF towers and December 15th was the last one of the year so we threw everything and the kitchen sink at it. Hey, if it’s good enough for Elon Musk, it’s good enough for us!

As MEF provides a fantastic platform for members to really develop their own brands, it was very fitting that the last live webinar of the year looked at the whole area of brand building and how to build and maintain customer loyalty. I put together an (admittedly) large panel of experts from across Mobile, and indeed the world, to discuss this vast topic and it’s safe to say that an hour was not enough! We would have needed two days to really do the topic justice but some key points came up time and again which are well worth reinforcing, no matter how experienced you might be.

Joining me on the panel were:

  • Munir Badr, Founder & CEO, (UAE)
  • Kim Buller, Co-Founder, Alchemy Telco (Gambia)
  • Guillaume Bourcy, Executive Advisor, Innovation & Technology Partnerships, Enabld (USA)
  • James Patmore, VP Indirect Sales, SheerID (UK)
  • Stuart Mitchell, Product & Business Development Rich Messaging, Sinch (UK)
  • Narayan Govindram Jaesingh, Chief Business Officer, Vserv (India)

Consumers are taking back control of their online identity, in the future they will only provide this to service providers in return for a compelling exchange of value which offers them a better experience, both in terms of value for money and relevancy. Companies which understand this will thrive.

At the heart of what all said was not to overly complicate things. Sure, there are a multitude of amazing digital channels out there which organisations can use to interact with stakeholders with but if we as an industry when selling these solutions to enterprises, government and any other type of organisation confuse with too much information, we will make precious little headway.  And that is a real problem.

Kim Buller from Alchemy Telco said “A huge subject, our industry certainly has developed many tools to enable businesses of all sizes to get their brand out there whether locally, regionally or worldwide. A ‘pick and mix’ of products that can be tailored to the target customers interests and connectivity”. I could not agree more.

This ‘pick and mix’ of products though has to be supremely easy to access as there are quite literally hundreds of millions of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) out there and most are not very technical and do not have pots of money to invest in customer engagement. So let’s start with the most basic thing – your organisation’s name.

Given so much is done online, having the right web domain is critical and today it’s the case of so many brands starting out with a name based on the domains available. Munir Badr from joined us from Dubai (the UAE as a whole having an enviable environment for any businesses – think zero capital gains tax, corporation tax and income tax for a start) and he’s a web domain expert. Munir made it quite clear that whilst some domains trade for millions of dollars, there are still real options out there at a price point for all, for example .

And as Munir said: “It all starts with a great domain name. Find it, register it & keep it secure. This is the digital address of your company, globally!”. Be very careful who you give full access to work on it as they might just hold your domain hostage if it’s a nice one! Trust is key. And this area of trust came up time and again.

James Patmore from SheerID encapsulated the situation perfectly with: “Consumers are taking back control of their online identity, in the future they will only provide this to service providers in return for a compelling exchange of value which offers them a better experience, both in terms of value for money and relevancy. Companies which understand this will thrive.”

Consumers like you and I are increasingly getting tired of being bombarded with content that they might not have even signed up to and even if they did, everything in moderation. Brands that interact too often can really switch off even the most loyal of customers if they keep pushing. Stuart Mitchell from Sinch tells us “The best advice to any business is: ensure interactions with their customers are when, how and where they want to communicate.

The mobile device that most of us carry with us every day is a very powerful and personal way to engage a consumer but there are now many different ways to reach people on that. The right channel at the right time will always bring great results.”

Timing and frequency are critical components in being able to ace client engagement. Narayan Govindram Jaesingh (Vserv) is from a country that has the same population as the whole of Africa – India, with 1.4 billion people, an unquestionably huge market. Indian consumers over the years have been bombarded by interactions from millions of businesses over the years across numerous digital channels to varying degrees of success but one ingredient has stood out as being supremely important – personalisation.

Your customers want to be treated as individuals and Narayan was very clear here saying: “Brands should ‘personalize with regards to ‘relevance’ their product / advertisements for the end consumer in order to generate better engagement vs. just random targeting by flooding consumers with irrelevant offers”.

And I totally agree with that sentiment…. Guillaume Bourcy (Enabld) has been around Mobile for a long time and encapsulated everything very succinctly with: “This pandemic has changed our approach to the world and in the span of 2 years we made a giant leap forward in term of society digitalization. As such, conveying the right message to the right audience has been critical, and, both telcos and enterprises are now tasked to ensure high security, low friction and data policy compliance across the board, using the right tools and platform at this end.”

The responsibility to get how we all interact with the various stakeholders associated with our organisations right sits with multiple parties and no matter how many resources you have at your disposal, it’s well worth taking a step back to reflect and see if you’ve got all the basics covered. Keep it simple and you won’t go far wrong at all!

James Williams

Director of Programmes, MEF