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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Telecom brands

Telecom Brands

"A brand image is typically the attributes one associates with a brand, how the brand owner wants the consumer to perceive the brand - and by extension the branded company, organization, product or service."

Telecom sector brands like Airtel, Vodafone and IDEA are amongst the brands having highest recall and awareness in India. They are also amongst the most likable. Some of them like IDEA and Airtel have a clearly defined identity which remains constant across all their communication. Through his post I seek to examine the common thread which is apparent across some of these brands and also seek to lay a base to go deeper into a common thread which is not so apparent in one major telecom brand.

What is IDEA?








The IDEA brand is represented in essence by the punch line "What an IDEA!". It seeks to convey that here is a brand which would strive to find out innovative ways in which the mobile can positively enhance the life of the consumer. In this it goes beyond Network, Customer Care and other hygiene factors to go to the Next Level and seek to find different contexts in which the mobile can add value to our lives. One context is social issues. For example in one campaign, the politician seeks the opinion of the people through the mobile before taking a decision. In another, the problem of caste is solved when mobile numbers act as identity for people instead of caste which is divisive.

Similarly, the recent Talk when you Walk campaign, which explains how health problems can be solved just by talking while you are on the phone. The solutions which the campaign talks about might not be practical but what clearly comes out is that IDEA as a brand is innovative. The issues which it talks about are issues which touch the common person but the solution for all the same is the mobile.

IDEA as brand is represents innovation and the power of the mobile to go beyond being just a tool through which two people communicate and being a medium which touches and positively impacts the life of the common person in issues which are of importance to him.

What is Airtel?


If IDEA talks about the mobile touching the user in different aspects of life, Airtel sticks to basics and represents the most important purpose of the mobile, communication and a medium of providing expression to feelings and emotions. Again the same theme is represented in different campaigns of Airtel.

Similarly, Tata Indicom talks about Value for Money and Virgin Mobile symbolizes Youth and Wackiness.

What is Vodafone?

A couple of statements from reports on afaqs.com, about Vodafone’s new Happy to Help pug campaign:

Rajiv Rao, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy India, which is the agency behind Vodafone’s campaign, when asked about why the Zoo Zoo’s were dropped in favor of the pug clarified that “while the Zoozoos are the brand's newest property (and will continue to be used for campaigns in future), they are in no way endorsing the brand "

Note: A Brand’s property is not endorsing the brand.

Amar Wadhwa, planning head, Cheil Communications says "As a consumer I feel as if two different brands are talking to me: the 'pug' brand and the 'Zoozoos' brand".

Elements of the Vodafone Brand
:

The Pug
:


Talking about the pug first, it seems to be the most dynamic dog in history. From the Hutch days when it followed a boy 24*7 and stood for the promise of a strong network, it changed homes and morphed into a Vodafone dog and said Change is good. Most recently, it has changed loyalties and is now following a girl 24*7 and acting chivalrous (dog in shining armor!!!) by helping her out and proclaiming “Happy to Help”!

The Zoo Zoos:

The immensely lovable characters which were used by Vodafone talk about its Value Added Services. The Zoo Zoo through different commercials explained the concept of different value added services.

The Other Characters:


A screen shot from their site:


How do different elements like the pug, the zoo zoo and these cartoon characters connect with each other and with the Vodafone brand? What does the Vodafone brand stand for? Where does the punchine of "Make the Most of Now" fit in all this? I would attempt to answer some of these questions in the next post. Till then...as Vodafone says...Make the Most of Now!

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