Airtel activated a record number of ads simultaneously as part of its recent campaign. The last time I took count there were almost 20 of them (watch them here). Earlier to this, Airtel launched this campaign with the tagline – Har ek friend zaroori hota hai (Each friend is essential). While the ad jingle was a catchy number, I doubt if it added any significant value to the brand. This time around Airtel promotes the brand and VAS it offers more candidly in the ads (although the ad format bears an uncanny resemblance to the Vodafone VAS ads).
The brand has also upped its consumer engagement efforts through Facebook. With leading mobile service providers such as Reliance, Vodafone, Tata Docomo and Idea all trying to woo customers with creative themes, Airtel is falling no behind. It has undergone metamorphosis with each campaign theme different (and bigger) than the previous. With increased advertising budgets (read as aggressive advertising strategies), mobile companies are trying to oust one another by spending on more visibility which can lead to anything but a higher bottom line. From a distance, it seems the telecom industry is headed to the same destination as the cola market a couple of years back. Remember the good old days of lesser known cola drinks such as Gold Spot, Campa Cola and Limca. The cola industry honchos – Pepsi and Coca Cola either acquired or dwarfed these brands with aggressive advertising turning the cola market into a polarised market. Instead of treading the same path, mobile companies should aim to grow their brands into larger than life. With significant brand equity in the market already, Airtel should draw a CSR strategy in line with its brand strategy. A recent example is the Coca Cola campaign (read here) and the Toyota campaign (read here) which beautifully summarises the brands in the CSR campaigns. With such differentiators, Airtel can aspire to not just build a strong brand image, but also a longer-lasting one. According to a Forbes report here, now is the time for companies to unite social good with hard-nosed commercial value. I couldn’t agree more.
- Coca Cola believes in a happier tomorrow – Branding at its best! (brands-india.com)
- Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good campaign (brands-india.com)
- Corporate Social Responsibility: It’s All About Marketing (forbes.com)
- A Business Paradox: What’s Your Brand Really Worth? by @TeaSilvestre (smallbusinessfinanceforum.com)