What can conceivably be termed as a long awaited and anticipated change has finally happened. Telecom major Hutch has finally integrated all its mobile operations in the country under the common ‘Hutch’ brand name. But does the change in brand name pronounce the end of brand ’Orange’ in India and customer sentiment attached with the brand? Has the brand name change communication been able to drive the message in the right manner to users?
Stating his perspective, Dr C R Sridhar, CEO, SRS Icon Brand Navigator, said, “Most of the Orange users have used Hutch when out of Mumbai – on roaming, so by and large they already knew that Hutch and Orange are the same and that the name would be changed. The only stark difference that users would feel is the change in the colour from orange to pink, but the pug is prominently placed in the outdoor communications and thus, the core message is appropriately conveyed.”
Though the communication strategy surrounding the brand name change started about one and a half months prior to the change, the outdoor activity on a large scale happened only about a week earlier. One would have expected them to make a louder noise in Mumbai.
The creative brain behind the Hutch/Orange TVC, V Mahesh, Senior Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather, asserted, “We didn’t want to stretch this particular communication for a long time. Yes, I am sure ‘Orange’ users in India must have felt a little bad as they were attached to the brand, but they know what the brand stood for and that ‘Hutch’ will deliver on the same.”
All said and done, the colour that Hutch is using is a shocking pink and there is every chance that existing users would find it a bit difficult to accept this. Brand ‘Orange’ in all honesty stood for certain values and to suddenly see it vanish can be a bit disturbing.
Agreeing with this, Ramesh Thomas, CEO, Equitor Management Consulting, said, “As is known, people are uncomfortable with new relationships and ‘Hutch’ might be exactly that. Users were used to ‘Orange’ and had attached certain values with the brand. So, it is a rather tricky and difficult job for the brand owner to throw away one brand and integrate the same beliefs and maybe even more in the new ‘Hutch’ brand and to communicate that nothing functionally has changed. Though these are a few assumptions, it is only justified to say that the migration of the brand could have been smoother.”
“As I feel, customers who have been with ‘Orange’ will give the new brand a chance and will stay with ‘Hutch’. The pug used in the communication conveys the point as the visual representation is a powerful tool,” Vinay Kanchan, Associate Vice-President, Brand Services, Triton, said.
Naveen Chopra, Corporate Vice-President, Group Marketing, Hutchison Essar, asserted, “Yes, the ‘Orange’ brand does not exist in India any more and there are no grey areas in this. The informal feedbacks that we have got so far tell us that it is almost a sense of expectation that we have fulfilled. In Mumbai, people had assumed that the pug is an ‘Orange’ property, which is not the case as the dog is a ‘Hutch’ property. So, subconsciously people have accepted that the two brands are the same. So the change was a natural transition. The new ‘Hutch’ ads, in fact, have more attitude than ‘Orange’.”
Though there are still a few hitches in the complete physical replacement and the new branding, it is only just to say that the 15,000 retail outlets will very soon don the new brand personality.
The new television commercial is expected to hit television any time this week and this time the ‘pug’ will not chase orange – it will chase pink. This apart, Hutch has also tied up with Radio Mirchi around 10 days ago for a campaign titled ‘Radio Mirchi is Pink’.