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From left: Sheikh Saud bin Nasser Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer, Waleed Al Sayed; Chief Operating Officer, and Fatima Al Kuwari, Director, Public Relations at Ooredoo at a Media Roundtable at Ooredoo Tower yesterday. (Kammutty VP)
By Azmat Haroon
Doha: Ooredoo said yesterday it had to change its brand identity because it was becoming increasingly difficult to operate 17 brands in as many countries.
The objective behind rebranding was to bring together 93 million customers — not just its two million subscribers in Qatar, according to a senior Ooredoo official.
“We had to expand because of the limitation of the local market. It’s very difficult to manage 17 brands in 17 different countries,” Waleed Al Sayed, Chief Operating Officer of Ooredoo said. Al Sayed was addressing a press conference held at Ooredoo Tower on the sidelines of the company’s re-branding.
The variety of brand names made it difficult for Qtel to compete with international telecom companies. In order to be rated among the top telecom companies in the world, a brand is evaluated on basis of market capitalisation, number of customers and profitability. That can only happen effectively if there is a unified brand, Al Sayed explained.
While defending the choice of the new brand identity, the official also said that Ooredoo had collaborated with a high-level team which looked into market research, focus groups and existing benchmarks before finally coming up with a new brand name and colour.
“Some people compared our choice of colour with Vodafone. That is ridiculous. Vodaphone does not operate in the sixteen countries where we do. We are only together in Qatar,” Al
Sayed said. Many customers were initially divided on the new brand identity of Qtel but that phase had passed, he said, adding that the Qatari identity was not compromised with the new name.
“At the beginning, a majority of people were against the new brand name, which was primarily on the social networking sites. Today the situation has flipped. A large majority of people understand the objective behind unifying the brands,” Al Sayed said, adding that the brand alone doesn’t mean anything and it was the investment in services that mattered. “Today if you say AT&T, you know it is from US. Similarly, Vodafone is from the UK, Orange from France, TMobile from Germany and Google and so on. You don’t need to say Qatar telecom in order for people understand this company is from Qatar.”