Creative Strategy > Sectors

THE CONNECTED ISLAND

BOYS + GIRLS, Dublin / THREE IRELAND / 2020

Awards:

Gold Cannes Lions
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Case Film
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Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for Creative Strategy?

To prove the power of Three’s Mobile’s connectivity, we brought their innovative network and technology to the isolated island of Arranmore, reversing over 150 years of emigration.

To demonstrate Three’s brand purpose to ‘help life mean more through connecting’, the creative strategy repositioned Three from the ‘little guy’ consumer telco to a strong business partner.

Leveraging Three’s unrivaled capacity to go ‘above and beyond’ for their customers, The Island proved Three’s network power and expertise can re-connect and transform even the most remote businesses.

This wasn’t a week or month-long brand experience. It is one that will last a lifetime.

Background

Three is Ireland’s second largest telco. But unlike its competitors, Three started out as a consumer brand, so building a strong profile in the business market has always been a challenge.

With a brand purpose focused on the power of connectivity there was a clear opportunity. But Irish businesses had entrenched opinions of Three’s experience and network strength, doubting it could support their needs.

A lack of heritage in business and the presence of global powerhouses like Vodafone meant that even though Three was the second biggest consumer telco, it was still seen as the little guy. Fine for your personal mobile contract, but not a company you’d trust with your livelihood.

Enterprise clients wanted well-known, safe and trusted brands to look after their account. As the old adage goes, “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

We’d need to convince them that they were looking for the wrong thing.

Interpretation

Dublin hosts the headquarters of the world’s biggest tech companies including Google and Facebook, and yet Irish connectivity is among some of the worst, with Ireland ranked 67th behind countries like Vietnam and Uruguay.

Dramatic terrain and slow investment in fixed lines outside of urban centers means that while cities have solid connections, it is devastatingly poor elsewhere.

Because of this complex broadband landscape, Irish businesses need a provider who genuinely understands their unique challenges.

Three was well placed to offer something more than just connection, bringing its reputation of “above and beyond” customer service into the business market.

Three’s competitive advantage lay in its true partnership approach: to “get under the hood” of a business and apply bespoke solutions.

In short, Three has a business team that genuinely cares.

Our opportunity was to communicate this caring edge, making potential business customers realise what it could do for them.

Insight / Breakthrough Thinking

The B2B telco category is full of dry, generic campaigns. Telcos are more interested in talking businesses than the living, breathing humans who actually run them.

Research uncovered truths about our audience. First, they weren’t technical people, and second, the decision to award connectivity contracts often sits with just one person, not a “Decision Making Unit”.

This led to our insights;

- Even in - especially - B2B, nothing sells quite like a good story. Because the category was saying the same thing about “expert partnership”, Three had the chance to break free of the traditional tropes, get noticed and achieve a “big brand” feel.

- Individual decision makers need the support of partners who care. Our target needed to trust that the people behind the network know how to support their business. We couldn’t just claim to be a “partner”. We had to show care and personalisation at scale.

Creative Idea

We went in search of an insurmountable challenge. We found it on Arranmore. A remote Irish island, on the brink of extinction, as a lack of connectivity was forcing islanders to abandon their ancestral homes.

For our business target to take notice of Three, we needed to reverse 150 years of emigration by bringing people, businesses, and life back to Arranmore.

Many of those who had left wanted to return to live, work and raise their families there. But without businesses, jobs, or connectivity, this dream would never be a reality.

We decided to treat Arranmore as a metaphor for an enterprise customer: looking at the island as a unique ecosystem made up of multiple mini-businesses.

Three would engineer and demonstrate a range of solutions at a micro level, while using the challenge of the island’s geography to prove the scale of its network at a macro one.

Outcome / Results

The Connected Island was Three’s most successful business campaign ever, achieving unprecedented uplifts in business and brand metrics:

+152% YoY growth

+18% Business leads

+17% IoT sales

+23% Connected Products & Services uplift

+203% Corporate business growth

+50% Business solutions revenue

The Connected Island proved Three’s brand purpose to ‘help life mean more through connecting’ by saving this dying island from extinction. According to the Arranmore Island Council, since the campaign began and an open letter to businesses all over the world was picked up globally, there’s been over 3,500 enquiries to move, an 84% increase in tourism, and an incredible 11% population growth. Reversing 150 years of emigration.

The campaign was even recognized by the European Commission who invited us to present the project, as a blueprint for how to save other isolated communities.

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