Making the Brand

Etisalat's recent brand overhaul was accompanied by some interesting blurb, with the new look described as expressing "values of transparency, optimism, openness, simplicity and reliability". But behind this marketing talk, the reasoning for the change might be much clearer.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  June 14, 2006

|~||~||~|Last month UAE operator Etisalat launched its new corporate image with much fanfare. Having had teaser ads across much of the press in the build up, on May 23 its new logo was officially launched, with the change happening almost instantaneously across all of the operator’s advertising, customer and press correspondence. To the untrained eye, the change looked relatively straightforward. Gone was the green box with the dark blue swooshes, to be replaced with a lighter green curly edged triangular shape. And the first ‘E’ in Etisalat was changed too, down from upper to lower-case. It looks better, less busy. But according to the press release, the new identity is not just a different shade of colour and a slightly different shape, but reflects Etisalat’s “values of transparency, optimism, openness, simplicity and reliability. The green colour in the logo signifies life, growth and renewal.” Most will probably agree that the new image is an improvement, perhaps slightly more modern, but it’s unlikely that it conjures up the thoughts and sentiments described by the operator. Chinese equipment vendor Huawei is another to have had a tinker with its image. A far less dramatic change than Etisalat, the shape of the logo remains fairly similar – a series of rays shooting from the top of the company’s name in a semi circular shape but in a newer design the segments are fewer, more rounded. Yes, it looks a little more attractive, but the new logo symbolises more, according to Huawei. “Adopting a graduated tone while keeping symmetrical, the new logo looks more natural and compatible, and acts as a metaphor for Huawei’s open-minded attitude and partnership strategy, indicating that Huawei will maintain its healthy growth and create a harmonious business environment.” There is more. “Maintaining the original style of youthfulness and an enterprising spirit, the new logo reflects Huawei's principles of customer focus, innovation, steady and sustainable growth and harmony." Despite being separated by massive geography, Etisalat and Huawei share a common outlook on their respective places in the development of their businesses. Global expansion and an ability to communicate a common message to customers from different cultures and backgrounds is an important element to both company’s strategies. Etisalat is seeking to become a top-20 global communications operator by 2010 and has been aggressively seeking new opportunities in markets as diverse as Pakistan and West Africa. Huawei has expanded beyond its home borders with a huge amount of enthusiasm, enjoying a high level of success across the emerging markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Chinese vendor is now a key partner to a number of network operators in the developed communications markets of Europe, and as it continues to push further across global territories, the development of its brand equity will continue to be a significant factor in the company’s evolution. Though an obvious point, Etisalat, Huawei and other companies that decide to embark on drastic or subtle rebranding exercises need to ensure that their new corporate image isn’t so much a statement of aspiration, but a promise to deliver a quality service consistently and effectively. Companies’ track records are what they will be judged by most as competition continues to rise and new markets are entered into, and the likes of Etisalat and Huawei would likely benefit from ensuring their products and services do most of the talking and that their new logos simply endorse them as opposed to the other way around.||**||

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