When attending the National University of Ireland at Galway, Kieran Foley was the Captain of the Irish Universities Soccer Team while he was majoring in marketing. Now, more than a decade later and serving as Group Marketing Director at Digicel, his love of sports has translated to some big gains for the mobile phone network provider owned by Irish entrepreneur, Denis O’Brien.
Through Kieran Foley’s energies, Digicel became the regional sponsor of the FIFA World Cup—a first for the Caribbean. The project also initiated localized television broadcasts in each of the 23 markets across the region. The agreement enabled Digicel use of the FIFA World Cup logo, which ultimately provided for exceptional brand differentiation. The campaign focused on connecting the Caribbean audience to South Africa by "bringing the animal out of you." The passion for football was associated with symbols of the “Big Five” animals from Africa’s Game Reserves.
Kieran initiated the FIFA contractual discussions and finalized the negotiations. The project also involved communication to all markets and executing full activation plans. This was the first time the company developed so massive a regional promotion and sponsorship program that required tremendous local input and specific local activation. Yet the massive effort paid off and was a major success for the Digicel brand image and its commercial goals.
The decade-long history of Digicel is nothing short of extraordinary. The company brings mobile service to local and rural residents that never before had the option of mobile communications. Digicel currently operates in 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central and South America and the South Pacific with more than 11 million wireless users.
Established April 2001 in Jamaica, Digicel grew to 100,000 customers in approximately 100 days. Now, their Jamaican customer base has grown to two million+ users, and they’ve just broken ground on the company’s new “green” global headquarters on the waterfront in downtown Kingston. The building will be the most environmentally friendly major office complex in the Caribbean by utilizing solar power, wind power and geothermal cooling systems.
In addition to the FIFA effort, Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.
While Kieran’s playing days on the field are over, his passion and enthusiasm to drive affinity and focus on the company’s brand through the vehicle of sport and music have propelled him in a career path with the Caribbean’s strongest ever marketing company, which boasts record levels of brand awareness and brand affinity across its markets.