Airtel Branding Strategies


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Study of Airtel Branding Strategies 1995- 2012

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Airtel Branding Strategies

  1. 1. Report on Understanding Brand Strategies “Airtel”Presented by : Akhil Jain, 2011024Faculty: Prof Rajiv kamble
  2. 2. Introduction:Bharti Airtel Ltd is a leading brand in India and have been included in the BrandZ list of thetop 100 most-valuable global brands of 2012 by research firm Millward Brown. The successof this brand is justified by the Branding strategies adopted by its managers. Here I will analyzethe brand strategies adopted by Airtel over a period of time. The source of the information isonline and prints media and also my communication with the GM Airtel.Understanding the product:The basic product promise by Airtel is “Mobility”. But the charges set by government regulatorybodies for the license was very high hence the call tariff was higher at that time. So it was a highinvolvement expensive product which could be targeted to only rich, business class executives.Understanding the environment and competition:Since there was no competition in 90‟s, hence the advantage of First mover was visible. Telecomindustry seemed to be of high potential growth. But the Indian economy was not so huge. Only asmall percentage of population was having a disposable income to spend in expensive mobilityservices. These were the business class executives and the rich class.
  3. 3. Brand positioning:Airtel was positioned as “an aspirational and lifestyle brand” when launched in 1995. It wasdue to high tariff rates and also the handsets were costly. So they targeted the elite, up marketprofessionals and entrepreneurs as customers.Value preposition“Power to keep in touch” (1995-1999)Airtel was pitched not merely as a mobile service, but as something that gave consumer a badgevalue. It reflected leadership in network, innovations, offerings and services. A sense of promisewas delivered to customer.Repositioning (1999):In 1999, Airtel repositioned itself as “brand of masses”. It humanizes the brand to gaincompetitive advantage. It moved from regional specific to pan India. It aimed at strengthening itsrelationship with its customers and makes the brand „softer‟ to cater a wide variety of peopleacross the society.Value preposition:“Touch Tomorrow” (1999-2002)It signifies to captures the new customers at that time i.e. Premium class to middle class segment,hence moved from regional to pan India. Airtel started establishing itself as a brand thatimproved the quality of life.
  4. 4. Repositioning (2002):In 2002 Airtel repositioned itself as a “youth brand” with which entire India live every moment.They share their emotions with Airtel.Value preposition:“Live Every Moment” (2002-2003)It signifies that each and every people in India lives every moment and tried to capture emotionsand feelings.“Express Yourself” (2003-2010)This tagline was changed to show its more emotional attachment with the customers. Also itgave clearer picture of the brand.Repositioning (2010):The new positioning of Airtel is “the most loved brand”. Airtel wants to be the most lovedbrand in India maintaining the excellent relationship with its customers and fulfilling everyrequirement of people.Value preposition:Dil jo chahe pass laye” (2010-present)It signifies the promise of Airtel to its customers that “it would deliver anything that they desireanywhere”.
  5. 5. Brand elements:  Airtel JingleIn 2002, Airtel signed on music composer A R Rahman to compose “Signature tune” which isaligned with its value preposition “Live every moment". It was later the most downloadedringtone in India and helped in Brand Recall for Airtel.In November 2010 , when Airtel repositioned itself after the expansion to Africa, along withcreating a new value preposition and a new logo , music composer AR Rahman composed a newsignature tune which find the space in the mind of the youth.In july 2011, Airtel used another jingle in Television commercials “Har ek friend zaroori hotahai”. It reflects that all types of friends around you are important in once life, hence encouragethe youth to connect with every friend.  Brand logo: 1995-2002 2002-2010 2010-present
  6. 6. 1995-2002: The first logo of Airtel brand was written in capital letters in black color duringwhich it was positioned as an aspirational brand, and target market was business executives.2002-2010: A new logo was introduced which incorporates two solid, red rectangular formswhose counter-form creates an open doorway. The title case lettering with its capital „A‟reinforces leadership position. The red dot cues in our focus on innovation. The red colour wasused to refresh the brand. The new logo was a strong, contempory, a confident symbol of a brandthat is always ahead of the rest, always „In-touch‟ and on customer‟s side.2010-Present: New logo was introduced as Airtel expanded to Africa, so to give a new identityof expanding beyond boundaries. The logo is a modern representation of the letter a on a brightred background. The curved shape & the gentle highlights on the red color make it warm &inviting, almost as if it were a living object. The logo represents a dynamic force of unparalleledenergy that brings it and customers closer.The “unboxed” having been freed of its rigidboundaries. The color "Red is part of heritage. It is the color of energy & passion that expressesthe dynamism that has made Airtel the success it is today, in India, and now on the global stage.Communication strategies:  In 1995, Airtel campaigns begin with teaser hoardings across the city bearing just the company name without explaining what it was.  In next phase Airtel was related to cellular services of bharti and vans with Airtel logos roamed the city, handing brochures about the company and its services to all consumers. About 50,000 direct callers were sent out.  When the name was well entrenched in delhiiites mind, Airtel focused on communicating the utility of cellphone and started with “leadership campaign” through commercials depicting business executives travelling in cars and using laptops were also using Airtel mobile. It also sponsored golf tournament to communicate its positioning.
  7. 7.  In 2002 it signed music composer AR Rahman as brand ambassador and started “live every moment” campaign to connect to the masses and youths. In next phases Airtel created some highly acclaimed campaigns o Quality time campaign o Magic dalo campaign o Say hello campaign o Magic hai tau mumkin hai campaign For these campaigns Airtel signed various brand ambassadors like sharukh khan(2002), sachin Tendulkar(2003), this associated the leadership position of Airtel asthey were the leader of their fields . Also saif-kareena(2006), vidya balan(2008) were the hottest couples of those days so they associated Airtel connect with youths. Through these campaigns Airtel promoted itself among the youths by communicating itself as brand for youths and reflected itself as a brand providing premium service. On 9 May 2009 Airtel signed a major deal with Manchester United. As a result of the deal, Airtel gets the rights to broadcast the matches played by the team to its customers In 2010, when Airtel repositioned itself, it launched a new TVC of the new signature tune composed by AR Rahman, which communicated about the new identity of the brand. This was initiation of “Thematic Brand campaigns” launched by Airtel. In 2011 Airtel sponsored Formula 1 grand prix racing tournament in India to associate its positioning among youths. In 2011, a new campaign commercial was launched “Hare k friend zaruri hota hai” an extension of thematic brand campaign. Besides entertaining one and all with its catchy jingle, the commercial served to position Airtel as a brand that stands for friendship, and helps one to stay in touch with all kinds of friends. The campaign is regarded as one of the most popular and successful Indian campaign of 2011. The videos were crowd sourced ,they were inspired by interesting friend types or tags created by the consumers on Facebook
  8. 8.  Campaign Extension Following the success of the brand campaign, airtel further extended this brand idea with the launch of an all new online viral campaign at its YouTube channel. The seven videos are inspired by interesting „friend types‟ or tags created by the online audience on Facebook ( Over coming weeks, the company will periodically release a total of 20 of these videos on the web and use the concept of „Gamification‟ to excite viewers to unlock, access and share them. In future according to Mr Santosh Padhi , chief creative officer and co-founder, Taproot India which handles Airtel commercials ,"Whatever the brand does now on the communication front will be positioned under this broad umbrella of Har Ek Friend. During the period Airtel also launched certain campaigns for noble cause to create goodwill among the customers. o Airtel jai hind campaign o Good health campaign in association with wockhardt hospital. o Grameen mobile puratchi campaign. o Delhi half marathon Starting mid-July 2012,Airtel recently took a strategic step towards strengthening brand positioning and appeal to the youth. Airtel Rising Stars‟ is India‟s largest under-16 soccer talent hunt which will give 12 promising youngsters the chance-of-a-lifetime to train with Manchester United Soccer School and kick-off a career in professional football. As a game, soccer represents the principles of team-play and „friendship‟ - thus making it a perfect fit for brand Airtel. We see „Airtel Rising Stars‟ as an exciting”,
  9. 9. Co-branding or associations:  In 2000, Hungama ties up with Airtel for incentive scheme. With this tie-up, one can get access to Hungama site anywhere. Airtel Hungama will provide mobile entertainment and gaming for users.  In Nov 2006 Airtel and Google announced a strategic partnership that will allow Airtel to bring Google search to the Airtel Live.  In Aug 2009 – Airtel and Nokia in exclusive tie-up. Airtel offers free outgoing calls, SMSs and data usage with Nokia handsets.  In 2011 Airtel cobranded with blackberry to offer range of applications.  US-based Apple Inc to bring the popular GSM-based iPhone in the country.  In 2012, Opera Software which will offer a customized and co-branded version of the world‟s most popular Opera Mini internet browser (over 168 million users) for Airtel mobile customers across its operations  On 1st august 2012, Airtel co-branded merchandise with the F1 team and offer mobile content because of building on its title sponsorship of the Grand Prix.