|We have arrived, world!|
Why is Airtel doing what it is doing? And how is it doing it? What does it hope to gain from this? Here is a detailed analysis.
What's in a name!
Well, nothing really, but surely a lot! The name carries the entire persona of the brand with it. The words used, the colours chosen, and the way the whole thing blends together is a direct representation of the class of the brand itself. Just like situations and circumstances in the real world change, so does a brand's need to stay relevant and contemporary. The latest major upgrade by Airtel to its visual brand representation is precisely this - a desire to stay relevant (in the consumers' minds) in a changed world.
A picture speaks a thousand words
|Time for goodbye|
What has changed, really?
Well, Airtel has evolved with changing times quite rapidly. From a very small and loss making telecom company in the late '90s to a mammoth multinational (almost), it has traversed a long distance. The significant challenges it faced on the way were strategic - Mukesh Ambani's entry into Telecom, introduction of CDMA as a rival platform, emergence of newer players, and the need to spread its footprint around the world (not restricting to India alone). To the credit of the company's founders, so far the challenges have been met with ample confidence and style. Reliance could not trample Airtel no matter how hard it tried to, and the myriad & byzantine legal/regulatory apparatus of Indian Telecom sector did not decelerate its growth. It has also entered into all the new-fangled areas of telecom - broadband, 3G, VAS and all such terms most of us fail to fathom! Finally, Airtel rose to the occasion and spread to Africa, thereby becoming the first true Indian Telecom multinational. So now the Airtel head honchos feel that the new look of their company must be very modern, smart, youthful and bright. Remember that India and Africa are both young regions. So, smallcaps + swoosh + red is the combination chosen.
Why smallcaps + swoosh + red?
Operational excellence in executing the change
I would rate the company 9/10 on this. It was amazing to see that the logo was changed almost "everywhere" simultaneously, a gargantuan task given that there must be thousands outlets and locations where the old logo was prominently displayed and the new one had to "suddenly" appear. We all know that telecom companies specialise in such outdoor acrobatics quite skillfully, but this was a very refined game Airtel played. I carefully saw that even on the smallest of shops (sponsored glowsigns) the new design was up and running! Now that's a fairly complex operation. My guess is that work on this change must have begun at least 90-120 days in advance, and a dedicated team of at least 20 to 30 at the Airtel HQ would have directed the pan-India transformation. Maybe even more. But the commitment shown towards this change was intense, and appreciable. Not many companies will do it with such speed and aggression. Now, if only Airtel can transfer the same spirit to the other parts of its operations (customer service, delivery, new products) it would be good.
A few pictures will prove this point!
Bach ke jayega kahan!
|Every single point of sales|
|Gamut of services|
|Not just Africa, |
middle east too
Having read all this, it's worth reading the company's official line on the change! Taken from their website, we quote
airtel unveils new youthful and dynamic global identity
• Crosses the 200 million customers landmark, reinforces leadership position in global telecom
• A R Rahman composes a refreshed airtel signature tune in line with the new identity and global outlook
New Delhi, November 18, 2010 : Bharti airtel, a leading global telecommunications company, today unveiled a new identity – a shared worldwide vision across its operations in 19 countries in Asia and Africa. airtel also announced that it has crossed the significant milestone of 200 million customers, reinforcing its leadership position in global telecom. Announcing this, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti airtel said, “Fifteen years ago Bharti airtel started its journey in India with a promise of delivering world class and affordable services. Today, as we expand on the global stage, this new brand identity gives us the opportunity to present a single, powerful and unified face to our customers, stakeholders and partners around the world. It reinforces our promise to deliver innovative services and a superior brand experience to our 200 million customers across Asia and Africa.” From the birth of the brand as a single city operation in India, airtel has truly gone global today with the creation of a single and unified identity across the world. The new face of airtel is youthful, international, inclusive and dynamic – representing the journey of the first Indian brand to go truly global. The new identity underlines airtel’s willingness to embrace everything that is new. The red colour, which is an integral part of the brand, continues to represent the energy and dynamism that has made airtel the success it is today. The new curved addition to the logo is a symbol which will help ensure instant recognition across diverse international markets. The airtel signature tune has also been refreshed by A R Rahman making it youthful and dynamic in line with the new visual identity. Like the earlier tune, which has made history as world’s most downloaded mobile music with over 150 million downloads, the maestro has once again delivered a master piece. The new tune retains the essence of the original but uses an inspiring musical style, with a universal appeal, that will be loved by listeners the world over. The unveiling of the new identity also marks the 200 million customers milestone for airtel. airtel crossed 50 million customers in October 2007 and 100 million in May, 2009. The company added the next 100 million customers in just 18 months. This further cements airtel’s positions as one of world’s leading telecom companies. For its customers in India, airtel also announced that it was on course to launch its 3G services by the end of the year.
Students of management and marketing (and that includes almost everyone of us!) must pay close attention to these details as herein lie the secrets of building a long lasting empire. All the best!