Pakistani Telecom World (Part2):Brand Portfolio

Pakistan’s 5 major telecom(GSM) brands have very unique branding structures. The main reason can be attributed to the unique evolution phases that the brands and the industry has gone through. From a player sitting on the ranks from 1994 to a new entrant in 2007, many players who are now competing for the same consumer have had dramatically different histories attached to them.

The Pakistan telecom branding has always been a bandwagon and there are phases in this evolution where every player is trying to ride the same bandwagon. So there was a time not many few years ago when launching new sub-brands was the order of the day. every new consumer segment had a brand of their own. One can judge how bad things had become that by end of 2007 Mobilink had already launched a total of 7 brands within its Jazz portfolio alone. Jazz which was already a subbrand within the mobilink portfolio had consumer segment brands like Octane and Ladies first as well as utility inspired brands like Jazz one, Jazz Easy etc. Ufone too tried to hop on to the same bandwagon but got a real scare with the launch of Public Demand. Launched under its prepaid portfolio, Ufone already had 4 other brands when the ill fated Public Demand saw the light of day. The hue and cry from all quarters of the society on its tvc brought them back to life.

The case for monolithic brand structure comes from the thought that consumers attention span is limited and the myriad of media opportunities means that it is ever more difficult to catch that limited attention. Hence in the name of efficiency, all money to be spent on media should be pushed through with a single brand message. There is already too much clutter in the consumer’s world and it would only confuse the consumer even more if each of your sub brands is trying individually to catch their attention.  The media efficiencies for monolithic brands is still more than the closer bond that segmented brands can create with their consumer. In the cut throat competition that the Pakistani telecom market sees, the media bucks can make or break the game. With all players having similar marketing budgets, it makes even more sense to put all your money behind the Big Brand than distribute it between smaller brands for reduced impact.

In 2000 Unilever decided to condense its brand portfolio from more than 1500 brands to 400 power brands. British American tobacco has had a similar history. They too have identified their global drive brands and consolidated/merged the smaller regional brands which required much more energy and resources to be globally feasible.

Since 2009, both Mobilink and Ufone have reverted back to their monolithic brand structures. Zong played it right from the very beginning and stuck to a single brand theory. Though it can be argued that the plethora of packages being launched has dampened the spirit of that master brand. Telenor is the only brand which has not reverted back to the monolithic brand structures of their competitors. They are still investing heavily on Persona, Djuice and Talkshawk.

The onus of marketing in a monolithic branding world lies less on the media planner and more on the brand manager. The responsibility is much more because the brand insights have to be so universally true that they touch the hearts of every consumer in the target market with a homogenous impact. In theory it might be easy to visualize insights which hit their mark their mark equally on all segments of the society but in reality coming up with such insights is a gargantuan task.

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~ by illuxon on January 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “Pakistani Telecom World (Part2):Brand Portfolio”

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