Published in Jul-Aug 2016
In 2013, Mobilink became the first telecom company in Pakistan to adopt a unified brand strategy when it did away with all its sub-brands, consolidating pre- and post-paid operations under the Mobilink umbrella brand. At the time there was much talk of this being a revolutionary move.
One of the most significant and talked about changes was Mobilink’s intention to slowly but surely phase out Jazz which, in the 90s and noughties, represented the gold standard of Pakistani brand building. So it is more than a little surprising that three years down the road, the company appears to have undergone somewhat of a reversal in intent and has now made Jazz the umbrella brand, complete with a new look and tagline Dunya ko bata do.
Speaking about what some are billing the “relaunch of Jazz”, Shahbaz Maqsood Khan, Director Marketing, Mobilink, says, “we didn’t ‘relaunch’ Jazz; we simply woke up the sleeping giant.”
Khan explains that when the company decided to push the Mobilink brand forward and put Jazz on the backburner, as part of a strategy by Vimpelcom (Mobilink’s Russia-based parent company), it learnt that “companies do not decide the fate of brands, people do. So while we called it Mobilink, people called it Jazz.”
As a result the company decided to “listen to our customers and give them back what they want.”
Thus Jazz was relaunched as an umbrella brand with the objective of “spearheading the revolution to make each Pakistani a digital citizen.”
This was communicated in a campaign (conceptualised by IAL Saatchi & Saatchi, Islamabad) starring Sikander Rizvi (of Dekh Magar Pyaar Say fame) and actor Maya Ali. It shows the two returning from abroad to improve Pakistan’s image by going into small towns and villages and spreading positive stories about Pakistan using a Jazz connection.
The campaign was widely criticised for overpromising and overreaching, although Khan says that it highlights the many “opportunities and facilities at every touchpoint for the consumer to have a digital lifestyle.”
These include smartphones and devices from the Jazz X range, online and mobile financial services through JazzCash (previously known as Mobicash), and customer and sales services through the recently rebranded Jazz Experience centres and mono brand outlets known as Jazz Points.
In keeping with the theme of the campaign and the brand’s new philosophy, the corporate tagline has been changed from Har dil har din to Dunya ko bata do. The thinking behind this, says Khan, “is to open up mindsets about how digital is perceived and can be used to better lives on an individual, societal and national level.”
To do this and to “show the world the true face of Pakistan where people are bettering their lives through new means and methods,” Jazz has launched a social platform called #HeroesofJazz, which will collect and broadcast human interest stories. Khan says that no brand has ever used advocacy as a platform before.
In terms of service offering, not much appears to have changed beyond a rebranding of services, although Khan clarifies that “innovation and consumer centricity will be the key driver of all existing and future service offerings from the house of Jazz. We have successfully aligned all our B2C streams under a single brand architecture and the next step will be to revamp the product portfolio.” Khan also promises “exciting products and services” in ecommerce, mobile financial services, product distribution and B2B solutions.
However, the question is whether or not these changes will be sustained in the future, or will the Jazz umbrella brand (like Mobilink before it) be discarded to make room for something else. Although Khan says he doesn’t have a crystal ball, “one thing is certain – Jazz is destined to bring about a life and behaviour change in the people of Pakistan. Launching Jazz as an ecosystem is the first step to the digital wave where IoT (Internet of Things) solutions, such as remote monitoring of your child, vehicle and home; online retail and ecommerce; mobile health, education and accelerator initiatives will be a way of Pakistani life. This is the vision we have and will achieve.”