How Visible’s Minjae Ormes Leverages Community and D2C Thinking To Fuel The Modern-Day Mobile Carrier

How do you make a name for your brand in an industry teeming with barriers, amidst well-established competitors? Just ask the team at Visible and their fearless marketing leader Minjae Ormes. As the first all-digital wireless carrier in the U.S., this offshoot brand from Verizon is challenging traditional teleco conventions, tapping into modern-day, direct-to-consumer strategies while leveraging the power of an established network. From building a lifesize “music box” to represent its transparency to being shortlisted at Cannes for its anti-store 404 campaign, Minjae shares how applying an entrepreneurial mindset and throwing out the playbook is helping the brand gain traction.

Tell us about your background and why you chose to join Visible?

My background is in media, tech and entertainment industries, where I got to practice the two most important foundations of marketing: storytelling and relationship building. Now I get to bring my experiences to an established industry such as teleco which creates more human connections than any other industry and help establish a new brand and experience. I came to Visible to help build something new, to reset the bar on customer experience, and to take on the challenge of solving big problems.

What major challenges did you have to overcome as an entrepreneur?

I feel I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my career whether it was helping build a fast-growing and evolving product like YouTube, or starting my own business helping other entrepreneurs and brands take themselves to the next level. One doesn’t have to be working at a start-up to build your entrepreneur muscles and learn to see opportunities in the future that don’t exist yet. I’d say the biggest challenge I’ve faced at times has been finding resilience. Not everything I’ve tried has worked out the way I intended and sometimes I’ve had to go at it multiple times, or try different angles — and because I tend to be the type of person who throws her entire self into something, that process in itself can be quite taxing. But I would not have otherwise become as resilient as I am today, had I not persevered through some of my hardest days and it’s an incredibly valuable mindset as the pace of innovation continues to accelerate.

What makes Visible a Challenger brand?

We’re striving to reimagine the way people think about and interact with their phone service. It’s something that’s such an essential part of people’s daily lives and yet, when prompted, most people’s impression of their phone service is “It works… what else do you want?” at best, and at worst, filled with negative experiences.

“Most importantly, we may be challengers but we are here to serve with humility and humanity.”

We are well aware of and inspired by what has come before us and what’s ahead in innovation and infrastructure building in the telco industry. And at the same time, we’re not afraid to think completely outside the telco industry box in order to test new and different ways to better our experience and relationship with consumers. Most importantly, we may be challengers, but we are here to serve with humility and humanity  we don’t yet have answers to everything, and that’s why the feedback from our members and prospective customers are so critical to what we do.

What’s currently happening in marketing that most excites you and why? 

I’ve been a part of a number of discussions recently about the rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and how their approach to building brands and products by putting experience first and foremost has created a new path. I wouldn’t say that what’s happening with the DTC trend is necessarily new. To me, this feels like a renewal of commitment from a group of brands and people behind it who unequivocally believe that focus on storytelling and relationship building will lead to better consumer experiences. And that’s what is so exciting about it as technology and tools continue to evolve, I hope that more of us who are building brands and products don’t lose sight of the fact that we are, at the end of the day, here to serve people.

alexa.comeau@adweek.com Alexa Comeau is the programming manager at Adweek, where she works on event curation while dabbling in some writing.
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