Public sector BSNL, the country's largest integrated telecom services provider, is about to go on a brand-building binge across its entire services portfolio to hold on to customers in the face of intense competition from rivals like Bharti Airtel, R-ADAG, Hutch-Essar and Idea.
BSNL has roped in some of the biggest agencies like Grey Worldwide, Euro RSCG and Media Direction (the media arm of RK Swamy BBDO) to vitalise its mobile, landline, WLL and broadband services brands in all telecom circles, except Mumbai and Delhi where MTNL is the service provider.
Confirming this, D.N. Sahay, joint deputy director general (marketing) at BSNL told ET: "We have empanelled three agencies for our different service categories. Grey Worldwide for CellOne mobile services, Euro RSCG for landline/broadband, while Media Direction will handle media duties."
When contacted, a Sanchar Bhawan source said: "BSNL's objective is to build brand loyalty among its subscribers by establishing direct connectivity across landline, mobile, WLL and broadband segments. One of the biggest challenges will be coming up with communication solutions to tackle issues like 'customer churn' with its near 50 million customers, besides building deeper levels of trust."
BSNL's mega brands mandate is seen as a precursor to the much-awaited synergy between BSNL and MTNL. DoT officials recently indicated that efforts were on to evolve a unified marketing strategy for the two telecom PSUs ahead of their integration.
The size of the media account at Rs 100 crore makes its one of the largest corporate accounts farmed out this year. Something that reflects BSNL's ambitious bid to talk to customers directly. The move is a significant departure from BSNL's largely passive communication strategy.
It now wishes to engage its four crore plus telecom subscribers in more meaningful dialogue. BSNL officials, however, declined to detail specific commercials of the national brand building mandate. "For BSNL, it signals a decisive change in national communications strategy.
Unlike conventional media plans, this is not about reach alone. It is about creating appropriate media programmes in response to specifc business issues. As a media house, we are taking strategic initiatives to approach client issues through customised media solutions.
And, it seems to have given us the right traction so far," said S. Yesudas, chief operating officer at Media Direction, which has a two-year term to deliver.
The idea is to identify gateways in each of these service offerings, and, accordingly, devise the communication and deliver it through specific solutions that will touch the customer. In each of these product catgeories, the single-point agenda is to emerge as the most prefrerred choice of the customer.