Verge Meets: Dan Lambrou From Vodafone’s Voxi

We got the opportunity to sit down with Dan Lambrou, the mastermind behind Voxi; Vodafone’s most exciting sub-brand yet! We spoke about how Voxi will change the lives of young people across the UK and really allow the young voices across the country to finally be heard!

Before Voxi, your role consisted of working with Vodafone across marketing and channel development, what has the journey been like to where you are now?

It’s been really exciting! In my previous job I was working on some really exciting projects- I helped Botswana Telecom launch 4G and the youth proposition in their market, and I did some really interesting projects across the world. When I joined Vodafone UK, I started a marketing transformation journey- moving a product lead marketing organisation, which was oriented around mobile, roaming or fixed line broadband, into a shift of organising our marketing priority and teams around customer segments. That means that we put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and really listen so that we’re able to understand their needs.

I joined in October 2016 with a blank sheet of paper and no team, and I then launched Voxi at the end of August 2017, less than a year later. It was a very rapid process, I had the full support from the business to build a team and to do some brave things, like launching Voxi! Vodafone’s a huge brand so it’s pretty brave of Vodafone to allow me to launch a sub-brand. The most interesting thing for me is the co-creation strategy that we put at the heart of everything we do. In every stage of the process we’ve involved young people, from the name of the brand to the proposition design and advertising- the idea came from a bunch of 17 year old kids from Scotland! We’ve been working with over 100 young creatives over the past year to help create all of our advertising and communications content. Every time we do an event we’re able to give young people a platform, whether its an artist, a photographer or a filmmaker. Our most recent collaboration is with Josh McKenna, who is a young LGBT illustrator that produced all of our Pride design work for our four exclusive phone cases that customers can redeem when they sign up to Voxi. Working with our audience has been the most important thing, it keeps us honest and as relevant to our audience as we can be. 

Tell us why being a part of Voxi is so important to you and what the biggest selling point is to young people?

It’s important to me because I was one of the founders of the idea and it’s important that young people are listened to. I spend most of my time talking to young people in my team and in our co-creation workshops, and the strongest insight that we got was ‘don’t stereotype us (young people), we’re much more diverse than people think’.  It was really important to me that I could give opportunities in everything that we do. We give a platform for young people in the work we do as a brand- our audience has told us that data value is really important, they told us that they have a lot of pressures in their lives. There’s pressure of having the perfect image on social media, there’s the pressure to make decisions about what they’re going to do; whether they go to college, university, apprenticeships, going into work or if they take a gap year. All of those decisions that add pressures we want to try and alleviate with our propositions. There was one lad who told me that he’s 17, he can join the army, he can smoke, he can get married but he can’t get a mobile phone contract because there needs to be a credit check. So we put our customers at the heart of our proposition that they actually designed for us.

Our top features that are really important are firstly, the unlimited usage of social media- meaning our audience can use all the social apps that they use on a daily basis to communicate with their friends and family, to connect with their passion points (work, fashion, music etc) and to connect with things they care about. Secondly, we focused on data value, yes they might go on social media, but there’s also apps like YouTube and Spotify on their phones- so we’ve got a great value data allowance and a triple data promotion at the moment. So, for £10 our customers can get unlimited use of social apps, 6GB of data for everything else plus unlimited calls, texts and picture messages – all of which you can use within Europe roaming for no extra cost. There’s no contract, so they can cancel, pause or change their plan at any point and you still get access to the best deals. 

How important is social media to Voxi and how will you guys spread the message?

Our audience is social first, so how they consume content is massively different to other segments. They’re watching less TV and more on-demand, they’re consuming content through YouTube andd they engage with brands through socials. Socials is core to how we provide service and support – you can get help from our care team through Facebook Messenger, twitter and web chat. The majority of our communications activity is through social and digital channels. 

Do you have any advice to young people looking to drive their own ideas forward?   

I think passion is key. If you’ve got an idea that you believe in I think that’s the first and most important thing. Second most important thing is building your network and making it as broad as possible. From my own personal experience and the people that I mentor, being brave enough to put yourself out there and getting rid of the fear of failure, the fear of not being accepted and criticised is an important thing to do, because if you don’t do it you’ll never know. Also, to cast your net as wide as possible and to show your passion. Social media let’s you connect with so many people and opportunities. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a scientist or an artist, socials is a great platform to put your ideas out there to new people. 

If you had to give a short pitch on why young people should move over to Voxi, what would you say?

I would say with Voxi, you get unlimited use of social apps with complete flexibility, no contracts, 6GB of data for £10. Also, we’re announcing that Voxi are selling smart-phones in a unique new collaboration with PayPal, which will give young people access to the latest smart-phones with an affordable and flexible payment method.