Asha & Bala are Back

The tele­com brand gets re­vamped.

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL / CONTENTS - By Su­raj Ram­nath su­raj.ram­nath@afaqs.com

Tele­com brand Voda­fone has re­cently un­der­gone a re­vamp. The com­pany has changed its logo and tagline from ‘Power To You’ to ‘The Fu­ture is ex­cit­ing. Ready?’ To pro­mote the change, the brand has come up with two new TVCs fea­tur­ing Asha and Bala (Shanta Dhanan­jayan and V.P. Dhanan­janan), the el­derly cou­ple that caught ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion when the brand was pro­mot­ing its ‘#MakeTheMostOfNow’ cam­paign dur­ing IPL 2017. The new cam­paign has two TVCs, ‘Imag­ine trav­el­ling the world with un­lim­ited data’ and ‘Health­care from any­where with IoT on Voda­fone’. The ads have been con­cep­tu­alised by Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) In­dia and pro­duced by Nir­vana Films.

This is the ex­pla­na­tion for the new tagline and logo given in a press note by Voda­fone: The ‘Power To You’ tagline was in­tro­duced in 2009. This new po­si­tion­ing, part of Voda­fone’s global re­brand­ing ex­er­cise across 36 coun­tries, is de­signed to un­der­line the brand’s be­lief in new tech­nolo­gies and dig­i­tal ser­vices play­ing a pos­i­tive role in trans­form­ing so­ci­ety and en­hanc­ing in­di­vid­ual qual­ity of life in the years ahead.

The new vis­ual identity will place greater em­pha­sis on Voda­fone’s ‘speech mark’ logo — the big­gest change to one of the most recog­nised sym­bols of Voda­fone since the hall­mark logo was cre­ated in 1998. The ‘speech mark’ will now ap­pear as the cen­tral graph­i­cal fo­cus over­laid on all mar­ket­ing and mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions col­lat­eral. The logo will also ap­pear in a new 2D de­sign in place of a skeuo­mor­phic 3D ap­proach.

Su­nil Sood, man­ag­ing direc­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Voda­fone In­dia, says, “As you can see, glob­ally we have taken the high ground. We are one of the world’s largest tele­com com­pa­nies. We have taken the high ground to con­nect with these chang­ing times. And to be in step, in what I call the new ex­cit­ing era, we want to help cus­tomers em­brace the fu­ture as it un­folds and in an op­ti­mistic man­ner. Our as­pi­ra­tional brand, in the past, has helped dif­fer­en­ti­ate us. Our brand is iconic.”

He adds, “To­day, it is time that we re­new our re­la­tion­ship with cus­tomers and take a step to be in tune with chang­ing times and there­fore, the brand has a new po­si­tion. Our com­mu­ni­ca­tion will po­si­tion us as part­ners with con­sumers and we will hand­hold them and walk them through this fu­ture. We are po­si­tion­ing our­selves as a mod­ern brand that is con­tem­po­rary, in­spir­ing and fit for pur­pose in this new era. It will po­si­tion us as the brand that has a pro­gres­sive view of the world; a brand that con­tin­ues to com­mand re­spect and trust in all that it does, one that is ad­mired by all and loved by those who use it. Our new po­si­tion­ing will help us an­swer - why Voda­fone.”

Piyush Pandey, ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and creative direc­tor, O&M, In­dia and South Asia, says, “I have lived with ‘Power To You’ for many years and hu­man­ised that tagline to the best of our abil­ity. It is not a change of po­si­tion­ing, but it is the evo­lu­tion of po­si­tion­ing from ‘Power To You’ to ‘In­spire You’. ‘Power To You’ is about the ‘why’ to find out more and the more you dis­cover, the more you find out, you can make it hap­pen. What is this new Voda­fone all about? Our job is to hu­man­ise things and com­mu­ni­cate to peo­ple, not tech­nol­ogy that bog­gles their brains, but op­por­tu­ni­ties that make their life so much more en­joy­able and sim­pler that even peo­ple who are se­nior to me, can en­joy the beauty of tech­nol­ogy that comes their way.”

Sur­pris­ingly the brand is not go­ing to con­tinue with Asha and Bala in their next phase of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

afaqs! Re­porter asked brand ex­perts ‘what is the in­her­ent risk a brand un­der­goes while chang­ing the logo and tagline glob­ally? As com­pared to the old ads which were a huge suc­cess, has the brand lived up to the hype and is it a good de­ci­sion by the brand to not con­tinue with the old cou­ple in their next phase of com­mu­ni­ca­tion?’

Samit Sinha, man­ag­ing part­ner, Al­chemist Brand Con­sult­ing, says, “For a brand, the most fun­da­men­tal el­e­ment of its identity is its name, and there­fore, it is also its un­chang­ing (or at least the most durable) part of its identity. While many com­pa­nies have changed their lo­gos and taglines over time, very few have changed their names.”

Talk­ing about the mid 90’s, Sinha rec­ol­lects that the sub­scribers who had opted for Es­sar Cell­phone in the mid-1990s would have wit­nessed their ser­vice chang­ing names sev­eral times from Es­sar Cell­phone to Or­ange to Hutch to fi­nally Voda­fone, which has now ac­quired Idea Cel­lu­lar. “To that ex­tent, the lat­est change of Voda­fone’s logo, tagline and com­mu­ni­ca­tion theme, is rel­a­tively a less dras­tic move,” he says.

Talk­ing about the risk, Sinha says, “The risk as­so­ci­ated with chang­ing a brand’s identity is the loss of fa­mil­iar­ity, a pos­si­ble emo­tional dis­con­nect with ex­ist­ing con­sumers, po­ten­tial for con­fu­sion in the mar­ket­place, a for­fei­ture of past brand­ing and mar­ket­ing in­vest­ments and a threat to the brand’s fi­nan­cial value and eq­uity. How­ever, the risk of chang­ing the logo while re­tain­ing the name is far less risky and chang­ing the tagline and com­mu­ni­ca­tion theme is the least risky. In its lat­est change i.e. Voda­fone’s logo and type­face, the change is in­cre­men­tal and seam­less, rather than dras­tic and dis­rup­tive.”

Shou­vik Roy, se­nior part­ner at YAAP, a dig­i­tal con­tent com­pany and brand con­sul­tant, says, “They haven’t done any­thing rad­i­cal. In re­brand­ing, there is in­cre­men­tal and rad­i­cal. Repo­si­tion­ing it en­tirely or tweak­ing your po­si­tion­ing. This one is in­cre­men­tal and not rad­i­cal in terms of re­brand­ing.”

Talk­ing about the new cam­paign, Roy says, “I like the pre­vi­ous ads more. In terms of cre­atives, it doesn’t look any dif­fer­ent from be­fore.”

Roy feels it is a good idea for the brand to not con­tinue with the cou­ple in their next phase of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. He says, “I feel overuse of any­thing be­yond a cer­tain pe­riod of time, is not a great idea. It is time to move on to some­thing else.” ■

The ads have been con­cep­tu­alised by O&M In­dia and pro­duced by Nir­vana Films.

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