Covid-19 has upended the way consumers interact with brands in many different industries. For Verizon, a telecommunications company that’s recently transitioned into a tech brand as it expands its offerings outside of network coverage, the pandemic has changed how its customers engage with their network, for both technology and work-related needs.Diego Scotti, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, sat down to discuss what that shift has looked like for the company, how it’s changed its messaging to better reach consumers and what’s next for the industry.This interview has been edited for length and clarity.Adweek: As consumer behavior has shifted due to Covid-19, how has Verizon changed its messaging?
Diego Scotti: In a way, what we do has become so much more critical for what’s going on right now and how people are living their lives, from the way they are consuming entertainment into the way they’re doing [their work]. It’s always been about the sense of quality, and offering a product that has reliability so people can do whatever they want to do and have the experience they want to have. Ten years ago was about dropping phone calls while you were driving somewhere, today it’s about making sure that you can do your work or have good entertainment or connect with others without having any interruptions. Even beyond that, what we see is this stuff we thought was going to happen maybe a few years from now, like telehealth or remote education or remote work.This is like five years in five months because we’ve seen a tremendous level of versatility in the ways companies and consumers are using the technology, but also adaptation that would have taken much, much longer is completely accelerated.Our whole strategy as a company is predicated on two things: one is what we call network-as-a-service, and then the experiences that are being built on top of that network. Our partnership with Disney Plus is a great example: People are trusting us to bring in the experiences that surround the network and curate that for them.While things are still very uncertain with regard to schools reopening, what can you share about how Verizon is planning to support kids and teachers and parents this year?
First of all, there is so much uncertainty, and every state and every school district is also very, very different. We’re working directly with a lot of school districts—Los Angeles school district is a good example—to provide the connectivity, and then the hardware that the schools need. That’s one foundational level.The second is Verizon Innovative Learning. It’s a program that we started five years ago; we have 150 schools already across the country. And we take the school, and for two years, we implement this program that includes the connectivity, the devices for every student, and then a curriculum for teachers to teach through technology. That program has been extremely successful, especially because it’s focused on lower-income schools. As those schools come back, our program is perfectly positioned to provide a level of support, especially for the kids that need it the most.The third layer is more specific to this moment that we live in, is [that] there are components of Verizon Innovative Learning that are perfectly positioned for virtual scale. The team is working right now on how do we think about taking curriculum in terms of teaching teachers to teach remotely and make it available to anybody, or every school district. More to come on that, but that’s primarily where we’re focusing. People are ready; what they need is the tools. That’s where we can have tremendous added value.Continue Reading