Magazine article Marketing

PROFILE: Vision of the Future - Lisa Gernon, Marketing and Strategy Director, 3

Magazine article Marketing

PROFILE: Vision of the Future - Lisa Gernon, Marketing and Strategy Director, 3

Article excerpt

Lisa Gernon, like Hutchison 3G in its pre-launch stage, is a bit of an enigma. Both are extremely guarded. And just as the company's landmark service 3 conjures occasional glimpses of exciting, pioneering content, Gernon just now and again emits an enchanting giggle that hints at an altogether more vivacious person - but for the most part she is edgy and defensive.

What's more, Gernon is a Hutchison Whampoa veteran, having led marketing of the hugely successful Orange brand while it was under the Hong Kong conglomerate's ownership and steered it to flotation.

Gernon's current reticence can be accounted for. The company has invested much time and money on 3, which Marketing last week revealed will be the brand name, including pounds 4.4bn landing the UK's largest block of 3G spectrum.

Even with the brand name out, it remains desperate not to let any competitive secrets slip. But Gernon is sure the product will fill a gap for the public.

'Consumers want to snack on information that reflects their interests,' says Gernon. 'We already like to fill spare moments calling and texting each other, but this will grow to cover catching up on information.'

She stresses that 3 is not a mobile phone company like the existing UK networks, but a 'multimedia communications' company. 'We're not a pipe.

The mobile market is predominantly voice with a bit of SMS. It's about listening. This is very visual. It's about seeing, interacting and exploring.

We see great value in owning content.' Thus the company has struck a series of deals with suppliers of content for which it's banking the public will have a strong appetite.

Chief among them is a pounds 35m exclusive deal with the FA Premiership to carry match video clips, live scores and analysis. Another is with publisher Emap to access content from magazines such as Q, Smash Hits and FHM.

Yet when 3 launches in the last quarter of this year, it will have its work cut out to convince a technology-suspicious, promise-weary public it has something for them that will alter their lives - something that's real, relevant and deliverable.

Data services on mobile phones have to date been basic and sluggish.

But Gernon claims analyst briefings have shown 3's network will download a video clip in 11 seconds compared with 20 minutes on general packet radio service (GPRS), which failed to capture consumer interest.

But 3's mission is to deliver personalised, relevant information. 'A lot of WAP services expected you to surf your mobile and work to get the information you want. The art in the 3G space will be to pull together those services for groups of people that have similar interests,' says Gernon.

A deal with editing and production house BBC Technology enables 3 to put together bespoke packages of content. …

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