Hutch, in India, changed its name and ‘avatar’ [a Sanskrit word meaning ‘physical form’] to Vodafone. The execution of that makeover across all the touchpoints and across India was perfect! Many lessons on executing promotions, new store openings and other initiatives can be learnt from studying the “Hutch to Vodafone” execution.
Over a weekend, the billboards on the streets, the advertisement on the back and sides of busses, advertisement on the bus-stops, street dividers were all changed from the pink of Hutch to the Red of Vodafone. All Hutch users got a sms informing users about the change to Vodafone. Print and TV advertisements informed users about the change from Hutch to Vodafone. “Hutch Shop” store boards were changed from Hutch to Vodafone. And this was done across India in tens of cities across India, in a 48 hour time frame over a weekend.
The Pink of Hutch is now completely replaced by the Red of Vodafone. Physically. And, more importantly, in the minds of consumers, which was the aim of the operation.
What was brilliant about this execution was that all the touchpoint and regions were executed simultaneously! This provided the big bang impact to the initiative.
How did Hutch execute this brilliant operation? Based on my experience, I give a step by step process that Hutch would have followed to achieve this flawless execution.
Step 1: Defining the objective of the project
It always starts with defining the project and its objectives. In this case it would have started with the CEO stating “Attain > 95% conversion across all consumer touch points between Sept 15th and Sept 17th [ weekend]” or something similar.
Step 2: Create the team
Once the objective was aligned, the team would have been created. This would have been a multi-functional team- Sales, Marketing, Finance, Logistics, Suppliers, Vendors, and Franchisees. In addition to the objective of the project, each function [ or sub-team] would have been given a specific task, with measurable goals and time lines.
Step 3: Create a time-table
A Gantt chart or a cps would have been created and reviewed regularly; weekly, daily. Based on the complexity of the project and the amount of linkages in the work of the sub-teams, the review could be done by the team leader or team board with each function [sub-teams] or with the full team.
Step 4: Review and Monitor
The intent of the reviews is to help the sub-teams to meet the goal of the team. It should not be a ‘fault finding’ session. The body language, tone and actions of the team leader/ team board are important, so that team members work towards achieving the team goal.
Step 4: Escalation forum
There should be an issue escalating forum. If an important ‘show stopper’ crops up, it should be escalated to the team leader. The definition of a show stopper should be defined and made clear to all members. The escalation process too should be made clear at the beginning when the team is constituted.
Step 5: War Room
About a week before the launch, a War Room should be constituted which has all the team members and does a check and double check on all the launch details. Members should be spread out at different cities and regions so that issues can be tackled on the ground. A checklist would help in the checking.
The War Room should continue till a week [ it could vary, from 2 days to a month depending on the scale of the initiative] after the initiative is launched.
Step 6: Post cutover review
Post launch, it would be good to document the learnings, what worked, what did not work and have a celebration with an award ceremony.
This process and approach can be applied to new retail store openings, launch of a new product, integrating two supply chains because of a merger or acquisition, changing the distribution network and many more.
I have seen new stores being opened by the large retail chains with staff not trained on accepting credit cards, credit card swipers not working, half empty shelves etc.
I have heard from passengers and read in the newspapers about the confusion and chaos as Air India and Indian Airlines merged.
They can all learn a lesson or two from Hutch… oops Vodafone!