I had the fortune to be involved with the extended marketing team who launched Vodafone in Australia in the mid 1990's. It was a real buzz. Back then Vodafone was a real challenger brand - it not only took on the might of Telstra but also went into the ring with the the customers champion, Optus.  Vodafone was different. For a start, they only did mobile, nothing else. The weren't distracted by Pay TV, fixed lines, satellite and so on that the other carriers had biting at their heels. Even though they were part of the largest mobile network in the world they felt young, fresh, irreverent and very customer centric. They rewrote the telecommunication rule book over and over again.  They introduced the Service Provider model making many entrepreneurs very, very rich.  Their brilliant help assist service - easy as 123 was one of their innovations.  Mobile caps.  The list goes on. What went wrong? Who or what maimed a brand that was in the same league as Virgin? Why did 4000 employees stop answering the classic BBQ question - who do you work for?  How can a company lose almost a million customers in 2 years? Was it the merger in 2009 with the Hutchison basket case, '3'?  What were they thinking? Did they take their eye off their brand? Did they become complacent? Or, were they guilty of not understanding brand and brand stories? Today, they are not only subject to a class action from 250,000 disgruntled ex-customers they also have both barrels from the ACCC pointed at their heads. What do I care as an ex Vodafone customer that only now are they going to spend billions getting their network up to scratch. I gave up on their rhetoric a long long time ago.

Is it as simple as a loss of trust or a case of over promise and under deliver?  Who knows anymore? Unfortunately, will go down in the annals of Australian corporate history as one of the most spectacular brand implosions since that created by the reprehensible behaviour of the disgraced James Hardie Building Products.