Skype uses celeb fans to focus on content

Skype is to take on an entertainment positioning as it looks to use parent company Microsoft’s marketing muscle to convince consumers it is more than a free calls provider.

Katy Perry
Skype counts Katy Perry as one of its celebrity customers

The brand is seeking to create exclusive content with celebrities and artists who are already known to use the platform, which could include live Q&As with fans or streaming gigs.

Content is set to be promoted via social media channels, including Microsoft’s portfolio of Twitter and Facebook pages, where appropriate.

The decision follows recent activity involving 1990s R&B band Boyz II Men and rocker Alice Cooper recording Christmas video messages to promote the Say It With Skype app, which allows consumers to send greetings to friends.

Skype head of partner marketing Jodi Mau says the service is nearing its “critical mass” of consumers, attracting 200 million on average each month. It is, therefore, important the brand communicates that it remains close to its existing customers – which includes celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Katy Perry (pictured) – rather than trying to drive numbers.

She adds: “Our marketing is now about getting back to being on the ground with our customers; that’s our time best spent.

“It’s important to embrace the fact that customers are our biggest voice – they give us more value than a billboard or sticking our logo on a conference stage,” she says.

Mau says Skype will use Microsoft’s global presence to engage with consumers and build communities tailored to local markets around the world. Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5bn (£5.4bn) in May last year and recently launched a dedicated Skype Windows Phone app.

Skype also partners with a number of other brands including Facebook, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Verizon to increase its reach through their above-the-line marketing campaigns.

Mau says the Skype brand adds value to its partners’ marketing strategies by bringing “warmth” to their propositions.

“We’re a good complement for brands known for being ‘quality’ or ‘expensive’ – Skype’s messaging for low-cost and free calls is welcoming. A lot of customers can be sceptical of offers, wondering what the catch is, but our service has no grey areas,” she says.

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