January 20, 2017

Airtel Rebranding – Was it needed?

Airtel has rebranded its logo to a white colored curvy model along with an orangish background. On top of it, the brand is using its media strength to advertise the change it has brought especially with the introduction of 3G. Recently we have seen Videocon being rebranded to a greener model. However the question is did Airtel really need the change?

Airtel rebranding

A rebranding takes a big effort from the company and is a huge step forward. Thus it is surprising that an established brand like Airtel will take such a step even though it has a very strong market position. Sure it needed a perk up. But it could have done the same through smarter advertising and brand associations which has been missing in Airtel. Although Airtel logo was simple, People related more to the service provided by Airtel as compared to vodafone. That was where Vodafone won hands down. Advertising even the smallest of additions to their arsenal of telecom services.

However, Airtel along with the rebranding, also needs to take a look at its advertising model. Just broadcasting the benefits along with a cute message seems to work less nowadays as compared to the impact that humour, a brand personality or a remembrable ad has on the audience nowadays. The emphasis should be more on improving the value provided along with this rebranding exercise. Only then it can be on par with Vodafone.

What do you think? Will airtels rebranding exercise help the company or was it a “too soon and not needed” effort from the company?

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About Hitesh Bhasin

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    Being a Marketing Student, i would like to say that the re-branding was not required, that too at this point of time when the MPP has been launched. Airtel being Market Leader should have just tried to include some humor in their communications and spend bucks on establishing the Brand Associations rather than spending such a huge amount of money on rebranding exercise. And i can’t understand what was wrong with the Previous Airtel Logo. It was simple yet distinct. It was one of the strongest Brand Association of Airtel. I fear customers now might not be able to recognise the new logo, so the brand might face little challenge mainly in the semi urban and rural markets. Let’s wait and watch the impact of the changing Logo and the re-branding strategy? i’m sure it wont have any negative impact on the strong brand like Airtel but it might not even help the brand to be stronger!!

    Basharat Abbas
    PGDM Marketing 2nd Year
    Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies,

  2. Very well summarised Basharat. Even i feel the same way about the brand. On top of it i feel rebranding is an exercise which can be used if the brand was dying. But Airtel just needs a face lift thats all. Rebranding wasnt an exercise which it should have entertained. It is giving even more leverage to Vodafone in its own undertainty

  3. I happened to chance upon this blog while researching airtel rebranding exercise and as expected have come across severe criticism of the same. i shall not delve into what my personal take on it: i just wanted to address something that this post didn’t seem to have taken into consideration.
    the rebranding comes just at a time when airtel has acquired existing assets in africa; a market in which airtel is simply unknown. therefore when you say “Although Airtel logo was simple, People related more to the service provided by Airtel as compared to vodafone.” you are overlooking the fact that this rebranding wasn’t intended for the indian audience – look at their overtly europeanized adverts, the theme music by an italian musician – and you will begin to see what i mean. they are simply trying assert that they are now as global (or perhaps as european) a company as VF, and perhaps one reason why their logo suspiciously similar to VF’s. whether or not that’s a good thing is a different issue, all i am trying to say is that one must look at the strategic needs for them to rebrand, rather than the creative aspects of the same. i like to consider it as an european invasion an indian.

  4. Well Mayukh. Firstly thanks for letting us know your point of view. everyone is entitled to the same. However, over the past few years i have noticed one thing. Brands are moving to extreme measures much sooner than needed. Although as you said, they were tying to access European market, They could have done the same through brand associations or varying their marketing strategy in Europe. Why go into the hassle of changing the overall brand and face a problem in Bottomline margin. Already the telcos have to compete highly for their margins. On top of it Aitrtel has a sturdy 200 million customers. Why bring about a drastic change with input of hard earned revenue to get new accounts. rather take care of existing customers and cater a different market differently. But in the end marketing is a point of view. We can only knw in the end of this rebranding exercise whether Airtel profited.

  5. let’s consider for a moment two other factors – MNP and an influx of a whole lot of new players. owing which, its a given that they are going to lose a lot of their 200 M subscribers anyways and the new logo (however good bad or ugly) is not likely to have much of an impact on those who are determined to opt out of airtel anyways. on the other hand, it is more likely going to have a retentive impact on those who would like to be associated with a brand, now successfully established as global. when you think of this latter segment of customers, they would inevitably the blackberry-owning, GPRS-ing, 3G-craving niche, most likely on ridiculously high credit limits and possessive with their numbers (even if they are considering to take advantage of MNP, the competition will never give them the high credit limit that they enjoy). i believe that in the indian market, they want to drop their mass appeal and be seen more as a premium brand – mobile telephony is not their only business.
    the loss of revenue from the-evidently-unhappy-sentimantally-injured-now-soon-to-be-ex-airtel-customers will be easily offset by the revenue flow from the established market share of zain across 16 african countries that they have acquired. the african market is still potent, there is a lot of scope for growth unlike in india where i’m sure they are beginning to feel strangulated. no wonder their new logo somewhat resembles the zain logo rather than a cross of VF and videocon, as some pundits seem to be suggesting – it’s all a matter of perception. they have every right to be excited about their newly acquired african operations. you or i would be as excited with our brand new handset despite the fact that we have to get rid of our old one, isn’t it?
    now whether or not they are going to succeed with it or not is something that only time will tell, but i like their spirit i appreciate what they have done, i appreciate their spirit and i’m beginning to like seeing them suddenly get snob! do i like their logo? – not sure. do i want to switch over to airtel? – i am certainly contemplating that!

  6. Cool 🙂 Lets keep a track on sales of Airtel and whether or not it has been affected by the rebranding. I guess we both will be having an eye towards that.

  7. Hi!

    I surely enjoys this site for its informative posts.

    Regarding the branding exercise of airtel, i seconded the opinion of Basharat where he mentioned that it will not help Airtel to attract rural and semi urban people. Reason being the similarity of logo with that of vodafone.
    In India where the literacy rate in rural areas are not upto the mark, the visual logo plays a great role but this logo is very similar to VF so confusion prevails and whoever comes to strike first will benefit from it.

    Placement Coordinator

  8. well i think the company might have done some survey and based on that the company have came up with this logo. Thus Ms Puja its hard to comment why they changed logo which very similar to vodafone.


  9. re-branding of the company was not neccessary, its true that it just needed a face lift, introducing new services in an innovative perspective. but the part were they decided to change some of the processes like changing recharge numbers for top-ups just turns out to be inconveniencing to customers.

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