Airtel 4G Challenge – Brand Promise vs Customer Experience

“While brands are built on promises, it’s the experience delivered that makes the difference between myth and reality.”

In today’s Red oceans landscape, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Here companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of product or service demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Therefore, brand engagement is won or lost on customer experience and brands are increasingly governed by the expectations of the consumer. As consumers become increasingly empowered through choice and information, too, expectations are higher and it is becoming more challenging to engage and court new customers in a compelling and distinctive way.

Airtel is trying to leverage the “fastest” network plank with the launch of its 4G services. According to the Airtel CEO, Gopal Vittal, “customer experience will be the differentiating factor in the battle of 4G services.”

Airtel has launched the 4G campaign to position itself as the “fastest” network for data uploads/downloads, conceptualised by Taproot. The campaign is based on the consumer insights about claims on network speed and the mobile number portability. Hence, the TVC is an attempt to break this inertia and it launches an ‘Airtel challenge’ for all viewers. The challenge guarantees lifetime free mobile bills payment, if any other network is proven faster than Airtel 4G.

Despite the high decibel advertising that surrounds Airtel’s 4G launch, the service is actually still only gradually taking off in the city. Though the company has launched a 360 degree marketing campaign to speed up 4G adoption, Airtel still has to work on the biggest concern – improving the 4G network availability. Facing threats to its 4G campaign due to call drops and poor network complaints across India, Airtel needs to find solution to negative customer experience for a successful adoption of their 4G services.

The 4G customer experience sentiments are expressed on social media and may lead to creation of a strong “Doppelganger brand imagery” for Airtel. Airtel needs to work fast to bridge the gap between the brand promise (fastest network) and the customer experience (poor network).

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