Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Airtel Rebranding: Will it bring Airtel closer to what it desires


Krishna Kumar | KJ Somaiya

Airtel Rebranding: Will it bring Airtel closer to what it desires?

Airtel is one of the Indian MNC’s that has made it big in the global arena, thereby becoming the world’s fifth largest telecom operator, catering to around 200 million customers across 19 countries. The Rebranding has elevated the brand Airtel to the “Global Player” league. It provides Airtel a much needed instant and uniform recognition across the diverse international markets in which it operates.

The change in the brand identity is very essential as Airtel is no longer restricted to the voice-based services alone. It is all set to create new milestones in the application based services also, with the introduction of the 3G services. This transformation of the brand of Airtel needs to be emphasized to its growing customer base. The rebranding has infused a lot of youthful energy into the brand Airtel that has been in the maturity stage of the Product Life Cycle for quite some time and would connect well with the young Indian market.

This new avatar would bolster the emotional connect that Airtel shares with its loyal customers, while also exciting new customers since it has conveyed its willingness to face the challenges of the ever changing telecom market. Statistics reveal that facing challenges and emerging victorious is nothing new to this Indian warrior. Airtel is fully equipped to re-write its success story once again, this time with an all new brand outlook. Go Airtel, Go!!

Counter View

Sukesh Gain | FMS, Delhi

Airtel Rebranding: Will it bring Airtel closer to what it desires

In 1995 Airtel was launched with a very distinctive logo and popular brand-tone composed by A. R. Rehman. For Airtel, the former logo was a simple, innovative and refreshing symbol. Currently Airtel is offering services in 19 countries. With this increasingly global identity, it has become necessary for Airtel to build a monolithic brand name across all markets. Airtel has embarked on this ambitious journey of consolidating its brand through its specially crafted new logo and repositioning exercise.

Numerous critiques have indicated the new logo as a refined version of Zain Africa's logo however the more pertinent question is whether Airtel will be able to achieve its goal of global positioning. Is it worth spending Rs 300 cr on repositioning rather than improving its customers service and infrastructure? The current logo could also confuse the customer, given its semblance to new Videocon, Vodafone and Zain Africa's logo. On the other hand, the evolved logo brings with it an international appeal. The new signature tune, being a balanced medley of both Indian & African cultures, plays the dual function of retaining the warmth & sensitivity of the older tune while simultaneously addressing a larger panorama of global customers. The lowercase of the logo signifies humility with the font showcasing a dynamic force of “unparalleled energy” while the red colour signifies heritage, energy and passion.

The new commercial with new faces, new tune, new logo tries to portray new services Airtel is ready to offer. “Dil jo chahe paas laye !!” The emotionally rich new campaigns ‘Street Performer’ and ‘Endless Goodbye’ give rise to the idea of a new brand in a beautiful manner. On the other hand these new commercials and posters featuring foreign models and foreign locales could possibly loose its connection with Indian customers.

In either case, it is too early to comment whether the re-branding efforts by Airtel is timely or not. It continues to remain a testing time for Airtel.

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