If you haven’t heard of Visible, the all-digital, low-cost wireless service that utilizes Verizon’s network, it’s likely only a matter of time before you get acquainted. The (newish) brand has been making the experiential rounds throughout 2019, offering pop-ups in New York and Austin, community engagement experiences in its hometown of Denver and fireside chats led by its executives at Dreamforce 2019. The brand also built a September event campaign fueled by an intentional billboard typo and a recent phone-themed obstacle course dubbed #Phonetopia.
Visible is just getting started when it comes to its experiential marketing efforts, all of which are designed to elevate the wireless industry’s relationship with consumers and, of course, attract new customers. We sat down with cmo Minjae Ormes to dig further into the brand’s strategy. Here’s a taste.
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Event Marketer: What is Visible’s overarching marketing goal?
Minjae Ormes: We’re a pretty baby brand and we are entering into what is a very entrenched and crowded category that is the wireless service industry. So as marketers, one of our biggest opportunities and challenges is how do we break through and really make an impression on someone in a way that they will not only remember us, but also give us a chance in terms of becoming a member?
EM: How are you working to achieve that goal?
MO: We want to reinvent and rethink the kind of relationships that customers have with their wireless services. All of us have at least one phone in our hands, if not two, and they’re such a critical part of our lives. And the thing that is powering your phone is your phone service, yet very few people have the kind of relationship with their phone service brand where they will talk about it in a positive light or even think about the brand in such a way that will compel them to switch or stay. So, the way in which we’re approaching the marketing concept here is that, yes, we are trying to simplify the product and we are trying to catch up to every other industry in terms of the digital behavior and the mobile consumption. But at the same time, we’re trying to cultivate a different kind of relationship, which is why things like experiential and pop-ups and #Phonetopia come into play.
EM: Why is Denver one of your go-to markets for events?
MO: Our company is headquartered in Denver so there are a variety of reasons as to why we chose it as our key market to do the [#Phonetopia] campaign this year. One, Denver is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States in terms of our target audience—largely millennials moving into the city from coastal cities. Two, just looking at the population makeup, it’s generally a good test market to think about, OK, if what we do here works, we can think about how to scale this in other types of markets with similar marketing activities. And three, just from an operational standpoint, it was going to be much easier for us to execute something on the ground as we think about the new ideas that come our way.
EM: You partnered with a lot of musicians on the #Phonetopia pop-up. What was the strategy there?
MO: We’re partnering with artists whose personalities and brands are something that we aspire to. They have become successful and well-loved by their fan communities because there’s nothing to hide and they are true to themselves, which is one of the brand principles of transparency that we’re trying to live up to because our industry is so complicated and convoluted… Because they’ve been playing these big stages, when they came into our space, which held about 200 people, it became this really transformative, intimate experience. The people who are attending are coming out of their way on a weeknight to a branded pop-up space to hear their favorite musician. They’re people who really, really want to be there. Ultimately, we as a brand get to benefit from that, which is to earn the right to be part of that emotional connection that artists and fans have. And again, that being the overall impression and the feeling that hopefully people will walk away with when they think about Visible.
EM: Why are experiential marketing and community engagement important to Visible?
MO: The reason that we’ve been doing the experiential on top of the relationship-building activities like community engagement, artist engagement and influencer activities, is as a digital brand we do not exist in your physical life because the product we’re selling is a phone service that is invisible. And we do not have physical stores—our store front is visible.com and the app experience. So we wanted to make sure that we also show up in people’s lives in a way that looks physical and tactile.
EM: How have your experiential efforts paid off?
MO: What we found is that people who were introduced to Visible as a brand through deeper engagement and tactile, interactive experiences were often two to three times more likely to convert and become members. And even more importantly, they were willing to give us a shot 90 days after the first time that they had that experience with us, which is incredibly important in this category because people often take as long as 10 to 12 weeks to research and figure out who we are and how we stand up against the other choices they have. It’s a really long period in which we have to not only make that first impression, but a lasting impression.