While much of the world has been focused on Richard Branson’s recent trip to the stars, the company formerly known as Virigin Mobile Canada has been doing some eye-catching work of its own here on the ground.
The company this week rebranded as Virgin Plus, a change it said was made to reflect its expansion into the provision of services such as Internet and TV, as well as the benefits of its membership program.
Customers became aware of the changes through a TV spot and YouTube video that featured “The Rebranders,” a team dressed in red jumpsuits who travelled across cities like Toronto to alter signage, in-store elements and even employee’s clothes.
Other telecom providers offer services beyond mobile, of course. However Jennifer Posnikoff, head of Brand & Marketing Communications at what is now Virgin Plus, the rebrand is intended to help convey a sense of the extra benefits that its customers have by becoming part of its membership program. This is alluded to in the marketing campaign’s references to getting “Plus’d.”
Besides simply access to communication services and content, for example, Virgin Plus offers members deals on food, fashion, entertainment and travel experiences.
Some of the current experiences featured on the member site include contests to win a private screening of the new film Jungle Cruise, an expedition to the Caribbean with Virgin Voyages Sailing and a trip to Morocco.
Posnikoff said developing a membership program that complements its expanded service offering requires thinking about experiences that will hold wide appeal across multiple demographics.
“We want to ensure benefits appeal to the full base,” Posnikoff told 360 Magazine. “We have to consider young families, young couples, individuals. But the benefits are often the kind of things that appeal to everybody. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t want a trip to one of Richard Branson’s properties.”
That said, Virgin Plus tailors benefit programs to each member using its online platform, said Posnikoff. Based on what they tend to redeem, they will be shown similar offers.
At a higher level, the company also examines what tends to trend well across its membership. She suggested Tix For Two, a promotion to let a pair of friends or a couple enjoy a movie, will likely return as the pandemic is contained.
Posnikoff acknowledged that expanding its service offering could put more pressure on Virgin Plus to keep pace with customer expectations. However she pointed to the fact the company has won the top spot in J.D. Power’s ranking for Canadian wireless service providers.
The study evaluates customer care experiences across several channels including phone customer service representatives, in-store contact, online chat, email, social media, and app and website searches. In 2020, J.D. Power found that mobile apps are often the most preferred customer service channel because it is quick and requires less effort than other channels.
Posnikoff said Virgin Plus has found the same thing based on usage of its own app, which allows its members to manage services and pay their bills, among other functions.
“We don’t just want to offer great prices,” Posnikoff said. “We also want o offer added value.”
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.