By: John White (@juanblanco76)
Updated 12/4/15: T-Mobile places first place in Consumer reports for nation’s top wireless carrier for the first time ever. Read the story here.
Many CEO’s sit behind the company brand in the background preferring to remain almost anonymous. T-mobile’s John Legere has embraced the opposite approach. He is a CEO that has the audacity to become the face of the company. The lead singer of the band. He has brilliantly created a personal brand that has endeared him to his target customer base, created renewed buzz surrounding his company, and undeniably disrupted the wireless industry.
For companies that are looking to make a similar impact on their industry and embark on a bold campaign to aggressively take market share from competitors, there is a lot to learn from the man who crafted T-Mobile’s uncarrier strategy. Since taking over as CEO in 2012, Legere has lifted T-Mobile from a distant fourth place amongst the big four wireless carriers passing Sprint for third place earlier this year. T-Mobile is on an impressive string of 8 consecutive quarters with 1 million or more net adds, including a whopping 8.2 million new subscribers in 2014. With these type of impressive results, Legere is turning heads and raising eyebrows for far more than just his regular use of foul language in his trademark speeches.
Here are a few ways in which traditional leaders can learn from the way Legere leads his company as the face and front man of the organization.
Boldly go after millennials! Legere has implemented many strategic shifts within the company culture and branding to be able to effectively target millennials. He realizes that Millennials have yet to develop the strong brand preferences and allegiances that older generations may have. For this reason, he believes that millennials are more likely to switch carriers. One measure Legere undertook as CEO was that he reversed a company policy that prevented employees from having openly displayed tattoos and piercing.
Legere is often referred to as T-Mobile’s CTO (Chief Twitter Officer). @JohnLegere is known for implementing industry disrupting policies and then immediately turning to Twitter to take the message out to customers in real time. John’s Tweets are funny, interesting, authentic, and unpredictable. He is using a highly visible social platform to take customer engagement to a new level in an industry that has not always been known for providing stellar customer service. Legere regularly responds to Tweets from customers personally.
This type of direct engagement with customers from a CEO via social media is largely unheard of in the industry. The CEO’s of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon don’t even have Twitter accounts. Legere’s following of 1 million+ puts him in an exclusive club of 6 other CEOs with 1 million+ followers on Twitter. Including the likes of Virgin Mobile Founder Richard Branson and Twitter’s own former CEO Dick Costolo. Legere’s engaging style on Twitter is by design. He knows that if he is going to win the millennial market, he must communicate the way they do and on the platforms they use.
Brand yourself as a customer advocate. Legere’s antics on Twitter and rants in public appearances are often times aimed at coming across as the VOICE for customers and a bold advocate for fairness within the wireless industry. The policies he creates are strategically branded as disruptive industry measures that are overtly customer friendly. His policies are said to save customers money and create fairness within the marketplace.
Consider abandoning the traditional CEO attire. Legere has developed a unique style that is brilliantly in tune with his company’s brand. His wardrobe resembles a front man of a rock band more than a corporate CEO. As the CEO of Global Crossing, he wore more traditional business attire and carried a clean cut image. Now as the rebel CEO of a climbing T-Mobile brand he often makes public appearances carrying a can of Red Bull, and wearing jeans, leather jacket, sneakers (complete with magenta shoelaces), T-Mobile branded t-shirt, and sporting longer hair. Legere is T-Mobile branded everywhere he goes which gives him an image that stands out and calls attention to his company. Legere lives his company’s brand right down to his shoelaces.
John Legere has redefined the role of a modern CEO and blazed a successful path toward turning around T-Mobile’s once fledgling brand. If your company seems to be hopelessly stuck behind larger competitors, then maybe you need a CEO that tweets and has a powerful industry disrupting personal brand like T-Mobile’s Legere?
Does your company need to reinvent your Twitter Strategy? We can help! Get in touch today to see how we can help you disrupt your industry with our Twitter strategies.
About the Author: John White is the Chief Marketing Officer at Social Marketing Solutions, the LinkedIn group owner of Publishers and Bloggers, contributor to Dice Tech News, Linked Into Business, and more. In June of 2015, John completed his MBA with a specialization in Marketing.
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