While enjoying our daily doses of lockdown TV, many of us have come across adverts for giffgaff, claiming to be “the mobile network run by you”. Most of us won’t have thought too much about what this actually means, but it sums up the company ethos perfectly.

Giffgaff recognises that customers seek more than the traditional customer-business relationship, and empowers them to shape the brand through a deeper involvement. At giffgaff, the focus is on ‘you’ as the customer is given the freedom to dictate the rules while also acting as the primary customer service team.

It’s pretty clear that the modern consumer wants to be deeply involved in the products and companies that they are loyal to. This is particularly true if they feel they have a voice and can help make them be even more successful.

Helen MannionHead of Business Intelligence at giffgaff

How did giffgaff recruit a customer community?

In the 2009 BETA phase, the company focused on a virtual campaign which relied upon potential customers sharing content with the intention of going viral. This was incentivised with the offer of a VIG SIM card which provides free calls, texts and data for a year, as well as a cash prize of £5000.

The campaign proved successful as 156 videos were submitted, amassing over 600,000 views on Youtube and resulting in more than 40,000 visits to giffgaff’s Tool Hire website for use in these videos.

Giffgaff uses co-creation to reach out to its target audience – mostly young people – and grow its community. Social media is integral to this as advocates use platforms such as Facebook, Youtube and various forums to share insights with existing and potential customers.

Our measurement of success is do people join us, how much do they love us when they join us, how many people get their phones with us, how long do they stay with us.

Sophie WheaterChief Marketing Officer at giffgaff

How does giffgaff reward its advocates?

Giffgaff Pioneers are rewarded in a number of ways, most directly through the Payback scheme which directly converts advocacy to currency. Referrals are rewarded with points, each of which is equal to one penny, which can be converted into phone credit, cash or even charity donations.

Furthermore, Pioneers are rewarded by being allowed to shape the product. Input from the young community has led to a greater emphasis being placed on sustainability, such as offering refurbished phones and recycling old products for customers.

Giffgaff also supports young people by offering a plugin which simplifies technical jargon and helping to educate them on finances. For example, giffgaff’s partnership with loan company Ratesetter helps to educate young people about bank loans.

What can we learn from giffgaff?

Giffgaff has shown what can be achieved when companies build around their customers. By putting them at the centre of the brand’s development, giffgaff has achieved rapid growth, high profits, good customer satisfaction and, most importantly, has created a product which is loved.

All this is made possible by collaborating with its community, keeping advertising costs down and empowering advocates.

Brands should emulate giffgaff’s modern business model, so that in a post Covid-19 world, it is the norm for customers to be at the centre.

Tadiwa Ndlovu

Author Tadiwa Ndlovu

More posts by Tadiwa Ndlovu

Leave a Reply