Bharti Airtel is one of the three telecom giants of India, known for its distinct and engaging digital marketing strategies and campaigns. With its promotional efforts directed towards all who can buy a SIM card, they are for their young and energetic brand image.
Yet with Airtel’s amazing efforts to market itself, competitors such as Reliance Jio have wreaked havoc on the industry with their cutthroat pricing and a stronger digital marketing plan. In this research case study, we will take a deep dive into Airtel and its competitors, target audience, digital marketing and advertising strategy and much more! All the information in the case study is up to date till the year 2020.
Let us begin this case study by learning more about the marketing strategy of Airtel.
Bharti Airtel, commonly known as Airtel, is a telecom giant and second-largest in India in terms of the number of subscribers. Founded on 7th July 1995 by Sunil Mittal, Airtel is the first Indian telecom provider to be honoured with Gold Certification by Cisco. Today airtel is not only restricted to mobile services but also includes Airtel Payments Bank, Airtel Thanks App, Wynk Music, and a wide range of other services.
By being a successful company over the years in a sector that faces numerous challenges like limited spectrum availability, tariff war the company has set a benchmark with marketing being one of the reasons for its growth. However, the rapid growth of Reliance Jio over the last 4 years is a growing concern for the company. Reliance Jio is giving a cut-throat competition while the race to roll out 5G in India gets intense between the telecom companies.
With “ Hunger to win customers for life” as its mission, airtel thrives to be on the top in the leadership board.
Airtel Target audience
A target audience is a specific group of customers to whom the business targets specifically & direct their marketing of products and services. It is based on demographics, age, location, gender, income level, profession, etc.
- Airtel mainly targets people in the age group of 15-25 and elderlies by using different campaigns.
- It targets the young, urban, social people and low-income mass category as well. Airtel’s spectrum is wide from elites to non-elites, it serves all with its financial and business plans.
Airtel’s Competitor Analysis
Airtel had competitors such as Vodafone, Idea, Aircel, and Telenor but with the emergence of Reliance Jio, the competition is now at a higher level. By using social media insights they have been optimizing interactions with their users across all platforms.
According to TNS, a consulting firm, 95% of Airtel’s customers are connected through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Social Media Marketing of Airtel
As far as the social presence of Airtel & its competitors is concerned, Jio wins comprehensively in the number of followers on Instagram.
Airtel’s presence on social media has improved, its Facebook followers are growing with 500 million users.
Even on Twitter with 2.5 million followers, @Airtel_Presence makes sure to get all the tweets with airtel in its context and clear their queries.
Although their engagement rate is something the company has to work upon. The above graph shows their Facebook engagement.
When it comes to Youtube, Airtel is doing a decent job with more than 1.1k videos and almost 20 million views but loses the race with Jio in subscriber count: 342k to 2.63 million.
Now let us take a deeper dive into Airtel’s own digital marketing and campaign strategy.
Airtel Campaign & Digital Marketing Strategies
Jingles like “ Har Ek friend Jaruri Hota hai”, “Jo Tera hai, Wo Mera hai” for Gen Z have worked brilliantly for them while taglines like “one-touch Internet” attract Gen X and elders.
- Airtel has done several such campaigns with taglines like “Sab Kuch Karo, Fir Sahi Chuno”
- The Smartphone that works, Indian’s first 4G network and #expressyourself; has proved their obsession to win customers through an exceptional experience.
- Famous personalities like Sachin Tendulkar, A R Rahman, Vidya Balan have also endorsed the brands earlier which have built a positive image among the people.
- Airtel follows a “matchbox strategy” with which it expands regularly in rural India.
The campaigns achieve their goals smartly by their dynamism, warm, friendly appeal; all the more it helps them gain the trust of their customers. With their priority service as a part of platinum care, they have also attracted hustlers who like hassle-free service.
Bharti Airtel’s new campaign named “Öpen to Question” highlights its aim to resolve queries of every single customer, learn quickly from failures and ensure they don’t get repeated. With this Airtel has secured top position on the ad diagnostics index.
Recently the brand launched a new marketing campaign to showcase the immense benefits of Airtel 5G Plus for its customers. The campaign presents the advantages and possibilities of the network in a modern and trendy way.
You can watch the ad here – https://youtu.be/_9ATWAoeUGo
Airtel has also introduced its banking in 2017 Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first payments bank aims to take digital banking services to the unbanked over their mobile phones quickly and efficiently which contributes to the Government’s vision of Digital India and Financial Inclusion. However, this is constrained to only airtel users.
Airtel Company Analysis
After learning so much about Airtel, it’s time to analyse what we learned. The survey shows that Airtel is the brand that cellular phone users have on top-of-their-mind recall and all these campaigns help airtel hold leadership positions in most markets.
With its logo change and mega campaign of Rs.300 crore in 2010 it has repositioned itself as a young, energetic and international brand. It has then taken on to become the torch-bearer of the telecom industry in India. Airtel added over 3.67 million mobile subscribers in October which was a lot more when compared to its competitors.
Airtel has been undertaking transformative initiatives that have the potential to make a positive impact on society and contribute to development. Airtel has always focused on its social media marketing and it is evident from its famous campaigns which got attention. The red colour indicates Airtel’s strong content and quick response to the actions of its competitors on social media handles is something that makes it unique. Let’s have a look at one of them –
This was in response to Jio’s announcement Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) being levied when a Jio customer makes a call to a non-Jio customer. Through its famous campaign “Sab Kuch Try Karo, Phir Sahi Chuno” it tells people to first review the performance of every telecom operator and then choose one. It never directly said to use Airtel. But it focussed on gaining the trust of its people by telling them to try first, then decide. It also tried to establish a strong connection with the customers through the campaign #NetworkOfCare for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2019.
A recently published report by Open Signal states that Airtel topped in gaming experience which was prominently seen in the covid-19 lockdown. Airtel had a score of 55.6 of a total of 100 points. The higher the score of the company the lower the connectivity issues. The company was ahead of its rivals in video experience too.
Airtel Pain Points
As we saw before, Airtel suffers from a couple of issues from competitors to reducing market share. To encapsulate what the company suffers from, we have done a pain point analysis.
- In the year 2020, Airtel’s debt increased by about 1 trillion Indian rupees when compared with 2019 which is again a threat to the company.
- With strategic investments being made by Google and Facebook in Jio and telecom is one of the focus, there is a threat that soon there will be a monopoly of Jio in the telecom sector.
- Annual net profit declined for the last 2 years, however increasing revenue every quarter.
- Airtel needs to work on its engagement rate on Facebook and YouTube.It is falling short with its competitors.
- Although the company has worked immensely on Twitter, it has been in controversies due to several factors including political, religious, and rivalry-clash.
With its campaigns, Airtel wins over its customers and attracts a wide range of people from different walks of life. It also has international business holdings across Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Channel Islands. The company even plans to offer satellite broadband services in India by 2022.
As an organisation grows bigger in scale, it has to deal with controversies and Airtel is no exception. It has been working on its allegation of privacy as well as has been in the news for it stands for social causes, the recent one being Kerala floods. During it all, Airtel has been resilient and shown positive growth in its net profit, with a year-on-year increasing profit margin.
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