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24 Airtel Project

24 Airtel Project

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Published by sunil

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Published by: sunil on Sep 30, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1)Examine the circumstances in which Bhartilaunched Airtel and trace the brand’s initial days inthe backdrop of the emerging cellular telephonymarket in India. In the light of the ‘leadership’campaign, analyze why Airtel and other cell phone brands were seen as premium-end offerings.Sunil Bharti Mitlal was a New Delhi based Businessman who started small bicycle-parts business in1970s first he entered the telecom business byestablishing Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL) thatmanufactured Telephonic equipment. Over the yearsit entered into other business related to telecomindustry. The main services of the bharti groupincluded Airtel (cellular), Mantra (Internet Services)and beetel (telephone instruments).In 1992,Bhartientered the cellular market launching services inDelhi.Airtel was launched when 80% of the peopledidn’t even heard the term “cellular Services”. Thatwas only confined to the premium class people. Inthe early 2000s bharti invested heavily in theacquisitions and the alliances to expand its cellular market in India. As a part of this, Bharti acquired ITMobile (AP & Karnataka), skycell (Chennai) andSpice Cell (Kokata).It also collaborated with BPL togain seamless access in Mumbai, Maharastra,Chennai, Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu ,AP andKarnataka. Bharti launched Airtel as a postpaid
cellular service in Delhi in November 1995. Thecompany redefined the way cellular service were being marketed in the country. Airtel was the firstcellular operator to set up cellular showrooms. Itopened its first showroom “Airtel Connect” in Delhi,in late 1995. Bharti was also the first cellulacompany to install a second mobile switching center.The company was first to provide roaming cellular services and other value added services such as smartmail, fax, call hold, cal waiting and informationservices. It was also the first company to launch anonline e-commerce portal that enabled customers tomake online payments.The tariff rates charged by thegovernment were quite high. Air time charges wereas high as Rs16 per minute as against Rs.1.20 for land line communication.Thus, all players targeted the premium sector, whichcould afford the rates. Airtel was also positioned for the elite class. Airtel launched the ‘LeadershipServices’ campaign which featured successful menand women with their deluxe cars, carrying laptopsand using cell phones. So people started thinking thatAirtel was an aspirational brand, which was meantfor leaders and celebrities. People began associatingthree core benefits with the Airtel brand –leadership, performance and dynamism. Other supportive valuesassociated with the brand included courtsy, politness
and efficiency. So Airtel and other brands weretreated as premium-class brands.2)Explain the reasons behind the ‘leadershipcampaign being replaced by the ‘Touch Tomorrow’campaign. Also critically comment on the campaignsdecision to replace ‘Touch Tomorrow’ with ‘liveevery moment’.Though the ‘Leadership’ servicescampaign was successful and resettled in a marginalimprovement in Airtel performance, it failed to attractmore customers as it failed to add an emotionaldimension to the brand. Analysis perceived the brandto be distant, effective and cold. The surveys alsorevealed that the concept of leadership was itself undergoing a transformation. The public perceivedthe campaign as leaders are people who worked witha team to achieve common objectives rather thanthose who dictated terms to their subordinates. Thesurveys also indicated that 50% of the newsubscribers adopted a cellular service from the adviceof their close one’s. So Airtel realized the fact thatcustomer-relationship was of great importance andlacking an emotional or humanized touch was amajor weakness. So in August 2000, bharti launchedits new Touch Tomorrowwhich aimed at

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