MAZUMA MOBILE // CASE STUDY
As global innovators in device trade-in and recycling services, UK-based Mazuma Mobile had been recognized internationally for their relatable and lively branding, but as the industry moved forward, they remained. Mazuma became a nostalgic brand, but no longer an innovative one. They needed a vision and team that could help them evolve, bringing them into the future without sacrificing the human quality that once made them thrive. Together, we would launch a global rebranding effort that reignited relevance and affinity while also helping them introduce new services that would spark new growth for their business and brand.
At Digital Surgeons, we asked ourselves how we might design a more expansive, future-proof brand and business model that could immediately scale into new markets across Europe and Asia, while also not losing existing brand love and awareness. Additionally, we faced goliath telecom competitors that were beginning to play a stronger marketing game through digital channels and creating their own device recycling business model strategy that had the potential of crippling Mazuma. We had some work ahead of us.
Together, we were able to enable a true reforging of their business and brand, effectively reimagining Mazuma to better reflect the demand of their audience and the future of technology. We also helped launch a new consumer electronic marketplace that is pioneering ways for people to buy, sell, trade, and recycle their devices and connected tech. This pre-owned marketplace would also help further Mazuma’s long-term mission of recycling and sustainability on a global scale.
The story actually begins not with Mazuma but with global B2B remanufacturer of devices, EcoRenew, who was on the hunt for mergers and acquisitions as part of broad global device recycling strategy. As an established consumer-facing business that wouldn’t require a massive investment to drive awareness and adoption, they had their eyes on Mazuma, but they needed help vetting the health and economic value of the brand today. Digital Surgeons was brought on to do the digital due-diligence and validate its strength through social listening, competitive review, and brand audit, which revealed a strong opportunity for growth that ultimately led to acquisition.
Immediately following the acquisition, Digital Surgeons’ advisory counsel further helped with the global expansion, digital transformation, and business model innovations by facilitating an Executive Summit in Dubai. The conference, inspired by design thinking workshops, united leaders from EcoRenew and newly acquired companies to further develop a strategy surrounding Mazuma that could connect the different business units within the portfolio and the role they could play independently and together within a global marketplace.
To begin transforming the Mazuma brand for tomorrow, we looked backwards to understand how they became a household name in the first place and what it is that makes people still know and love them. Through our original digital due-diligence process we were able to use social listening and other proprietary brand assessment methods, we were able to determine that Mazuma was not only a well known household name but also had a strong positive sentiment toward it. We found that people knew and loved the character Maz and could easily recall the unique colors and jingles. This meant we wouldn’t be abandoning what made Mazuma so well known, we’d simply be upgrading it.
The upgrade brand everyone knows and loves now has an upgrade itself. A key part of our rebrand strategy was insuring retention of loyalists while re-engaging lapsed customers by leveraging nostalgic branding to show the progression. Mazuma’s new messaging direction was based on the belief that success for Mazuma wasn’t only about the reliability they were known to provide but the endless possibilities technology now provides. By being a high-speed, wide-spread source for buying, trading, selling, and recycling mobile devices and connected tech, they could be an enabler of upgraded communication. Yet, unlike competitors, they could do it with a human touch. They could provide an upgrade in technology and possibility to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it, and they could make it a fun, trustworthy experience.
A large portion of brand recall stemmed from the mascot, Maz. However, the character did not reflect the current state of consumer technology. He was essentially a touchtone phone living in a touch screen age — further promoting a dated brand that reflected dated technology.
To revamp him for the digital age, yet still keeping his cheeky, humorous tone that had equity, we began by researching common usage of animation and characters in the markets he would play. What we found was that there was a perfect opportunity to leverage the recent rise in popularity of tech-powered superheroes to communicate the new brand message. From there, we built on the robotic elements to Maz, demonstrating the streamlined, dependable, speedy aspects of the brand, as well as building his personality, which represented the passionate, personable side of the brand experience. The result was an updated, modernized take on the legendary character.
The Digital Surgeons team then developed a new Brand Articulation, which guided not only the new voice & tone for the brand but how the company itself would embody it — building out brand experiences that demonstrate the reliable, energized, future-forward nature of the brand within every touchpoint, while providing a promise of possibility that only new technology can offer.
The combined digital, DTC, shipping, and unboxing experiences are central to the brand, so the design team studied current trends and best-practices in order to help them adapt and optimize every touchpoint to be more modern and relatable. Brought to life through a Logo & Design Study, the new visual direction for the brand tells a story of being tech-enabled and future-forward, while still showing its roots as a nostalgic brand. And with Maz being so beloved, we made him synonymous with the brand by turning him into the glyph. Validated by survey results with target markets, the new look utilizes colors and typography that demonstrate the evolution of the business from a late-night TV mail-in service to a more premium, yet friendly, digital-first experience, including the incorporation of chatbot styling to represent emerging communication styles.
With competitor and audience research, an upgraded character, a new brand voice, and an evolved visual identity ready, we knew we needed to set Mazuma up for success by giving them the tools to successfully launch the new brand in not only the UK, but internationally, as well. Through the launch campaign titled “Meet Mazuma” we provided a 12-month roll-out strategy aimed at reintroducing the brand while paying homage to its past. This was followed by larger OOH, digital, and traditional activations to further boost awareness, discovery, and engagement — all supported by an in-depth media plan that ensured both bottom and top-of-the-funnel tactics were included to follow the user from discovery through purchase.
While leading the way in refurbished phones, we wanted to help Mazuma capture one element that’s missing from the experience — the unboxing of a brand new phone. That’s why we designed new packaging materials to elevate the feeling you get when opening your “new” Mazuma phone.
Mazuma’s business functions almost entirely online, so their digital experiences had to match the overall brand relaunch. With the new brand look & feel, plus an overall UX upgrade intended to streamline and simplify transactions, the new MazumaMobile.com became a high-speed home for buying and selling phones.
Finally, we equipped the Mazuma team with the tools needed to continue growing their brand consistently using a custom design system, which included everything from brand fonts and colors to the proper clear space between images.
Throughout the entirety of the branding and go-to-market strategy development, the underlying goal of successfully introducing the new & improved Mazuma to the world remained at the forefront of everyone’s mind. From nostalgic to innovative, the core essence of Mazuma lived on, and the consumers were more than excited to meet the new Mazuma.
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