Listening and Reacting to Generation Cloud

T-Mobile’s Un-Carrier movement has completely revolutionised the way the entire industry thinks about marketing, selling to and serving mobile customers. Not only that, it shows the power of what can be achieved through business model transformation and true disruption. By leading with a consumer-first brand, T-Mobile focused on removing long-standing barriers for customers and bringing aggressive service offers to market in a major effort to establish itself as an industry leader in the U.S. market.

For years, consumers had grown accustomed to signing two- year contracts when they bought a mobile phone. The new-every-two-year concept – when operators require customers to wait until the end of their contract term before upgrading their phones – had become the norm. So had strict terms defining voice, text and especially data service usage.

However, these terms became increasingly less acceptable as Generation Cloud began to enter the market. These digital natives matured in a world of hyper-connectivity and instant gratification. Generation Cloud knows that when they see an app they want, they simply go to the app store and download it.

So why, many wondered, did they have to wait two years to buy the latest and greatest smartphone? Why could they only stream so much video and music on their mobile device before a data cap would either slow or restrict further usage? Why were they required to sign hefty, confusing contracts with draconian overage charges and service restrictions?

Sensing consumer frustration and an opportunity to reverse years of stagnant growth, T-Mobile launched the Un-Carrier concept in March 2013 with its first major announcement – the elimination of annual service contracts and a switch to- ward its Simple Choice plan. One month later, the company an- nounced the availability of the iPhone, meaning consumers could now buy one of the world’s most popular smartphones without a contract.

By widely touting its anti-contract, anti-service restrictions approach, T-Mobile established a new and revolutionary brand identity, one that directly spoke to Generation Cloud. As a result, the company has seen the perception of its brand improve.

A study by brand researcher YouGov tracked the success of this approach. From early 2013 to early 2014, T-Mobile saw its YouGov score for Purchase Consideration – a measure of how likely a consumer would be to purchase from a brand – grow from 10 to 13 percent. Comparatively, AT&T saw its Purchase Consideration score drop from 25 to 23 percent over that same time period.

T-Mobile outranked AT&T in measures of brand value (“Does it give good value for what you pay?”) and buzz, which tracks positive or negative feedback regarding a brand. YouGov added that T-Mobile has started to decrease AT&T’s advantage when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Ultimately, T-Mobile’s progress in improving its brand im- age corresponds quite well to the service changes it has made to appeal to a new generation of consumers.

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