Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai Planner, Brenda Kassir on Etisalat

I like to listen to classical music in the mornings. This morning my laptop tunes into my favourite Italian radio station and I’m awoken from peaceful slumber by the soothing sounds of Filippa Giordano. The Etisalat portal is my connection to my world, the wonders of modern technology. Last month Etislat introduced a new service which lets me programme the internet to wake me up to the tune of my favourite radio stations from around the world by beginning live streaming at 6.00am for half an hour as I wrestle to get out of bed in the morning. I feel so connected to the world.

My day commences with breakfast as I scan the morning news pages over the Internet. Once again the Etisalat portal is my guide to the world. It conveniently summarises the front pages of the major world newspapers and includes the news, weather and events of the day in the UAE. I’m up to speed.

My husband lovingly reminds me that I make us late in the mornings and sure enough today is no exception. At 8am we are in a rush and we hop into the car and join the morning rush. In order to avoid an argument I quickly open my laptop in the car and connect to the Internet using the wireless system in our car. Being a company that keeps people connected to the world around them Etisalat have launched a new live traffic monitor service. You just type in your current location and intended destination and using their satellite technology Etisalat will plot a map of the area between the two locations with traffic density shown. This way you can choose the least dense road to get you to work relatively hassle free. I tell you this company is streets ahead.

Whilst I’m browsing the site, I look up the ‘What’s on Dubai’ section on the Etisalat portal and find out that there are still tickets for tonight’s performance of Swan Lake at Madinat Jumeirah so I reserve two seats using the Etisalat reservation scheme. I don’t need to type in all my details, as that is part of the privilege of being an Etisalat loyal customer. We get discounts to the performance too. Nice one.

Of course, this modern convenience doesn’t involve an exorbitant amount of money. You see, my husband and I have a great deal with Etisalat. They really understand our lifestyle and heavy telecommunications usage. Their new customer segmentation (youth, young couples/single, young families, older families) gives people the package that best suits their needs. The plan we are on identifies us as a modern young couple and we get:

· 2 mobile phone numbers. We don’t need a home phone line as these same numbers work as a fixed line when we are at home, saving us call costs.
· Of course international roaming is part of this deal and it comes without the need for a deposit as both of us are heavy travellers and we have been loyal Etisalat customers.
· Wireless home Internet connection.
· All these services are bundled together as one package on one monthly bill that comes via email (to save the trees). The bill is extremely user friendly and clearly identifies charges and potential savings. We are also part of the Etisalat loyalty scheme linked to Emirates Airlines and a host of other restaurants, cafes, hotels, fashion stores, supermarkets etc.
I arrive at work and remember I have a video conference with our Saudi office in 15 minutes. I prepare my laptop to use my voice over internet protocol. This allows me to dial into our Saudi office using my laptop. It’s great because there is no lag and it means I can send documents to them as we speak. It also means I can be working on my document as I’m speaking to them and searching the Internet at the same time J.

I call my husband at lunchtime and in our morning rush he thinks he left the air conditioning and the lights on at home. Being concerned about the amount of energy we waste I act quickly. I launch the Etisalat portal and connect to the ‘My House’ section. This is a wonderful online system that lets us control the temperature, lighting, television and refrigerator at home. Etisalat together with leading technology players Nokia, Apple, Fujitsu and LG have developed wireless satellite technology that links all these instruments together via an online plan of the house. The beauty of the LG fridge is that I can see what supplies we have in the fridge and order things through the linked Etisalat/Spinneys website which allows me to get my items home delivered when I choose.

The day drags on. As a relief from clients who want “a strategy for how to launch a new tomato flavoured potato chip which is identical to competitors but nevertheless wish to talk about the exceptional and differentiated fresh bright red colour which they are convinced will capture consumers interests, and only wish to use TV and print and still want to beat the long established market leader!” I check out the Etisalat music section and download Mary J. Bligh’s latest album. Serenity now.

Exhausted and wondering what the hell I accomplished today and how many useless conversations I’ve had, I head home. Later that night we decide to watch a movie but we watched La Belle Epoque last Sunday and there aren’t any new movies in our movie stash. So we get onto the Etisalat Portal once again and whilst I make some tea my husband downloads the new release of Fanaa off the Etisalat movie link.

I love Etisalat. It is in tune with my world. It recognises that today communications is more than fixed lines, mobile phones, internet, SMS, video messages, it’s about staying connected to the world around us. This means multi-media, wireless applications, technology convergence, multi purpose gadgets, multi purpose websites, multi service offerings, entertainment, web chats, web logs. I want to be able to make a movie on my phone and upload it onto the Internet immediately – it could be the next short film winner and there is no time to lose.

Although Etislat has had a monopoly in this market for thirty years it constantly innovates. In fact, together with the alliances it has formed with other strong U.A.E brands like Emirates Airlines, Dubai National Bank and Emaar it is taking the U.A.E into the forefront of modern civilisation and technology. Etisalat is a mature, worldly company with substance. It’s not a fad. It’s not ‘cool’. It’s confident, visionary, modern, intelligent and cultured. Just like a leader should be.


Blogger X said...

Brenda I have a question. You describe quite elequontly if I may add, the launching of a number of different products by Etisalat recently. Don't you feel that Etisalat consumers, knowing a new TCOM provider is coming into town, might question Etisalats motives?

Where were you before?Why now?
Is it really to make my life easier, or is this a business strategy?
Your thoughts?

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Etisalat is a mature, worldly company with substance. It’s not a fad. It’s not ‘cool’. It’s confident, visionary, modern, intelligent and cultured. Just like a leader should be."

Is this reflected in their attempt at a rebrand?

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Brenda Kassir said...

This is my futuristic vision for Etisalat. What I would do, how I would behave, what I would represent if I was them.

In reality I don't think they are doing many of these. I can't answer about their attempt at a rebrand but we all know that a rebrand which involves only new ads, updated logos and visuals won't do much good.

I think consumers don't mind seeing a healthy response to competition, as long as Etisalat do it with integrity and not just as a short term, shallow response.

I hope they will live up to peoples expectations as the market leader.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous She' said...

They have always been leaders in providing technology and the latest product ... what they did not do is educate the consumer to look out for them. They have always been product focused and not consumer focused.

6:06 PM  
Blogger X said...

"They have always been leaders in providing technology and the latest product ..."

'She'out of curiousity which telecom providers have been following this leader?

7:37 PM  
Anonymous She' said...

leaders within the MiddleEast region...

and by the way they do provide their telecom softwares/systems to other operators in the region...

Need names...

8:07 PM  
Blogger X said...

I stand corrected She, touche touche...

5:24 AM  
Blogger ambitiousben said...

hi brenda,
intrigued by your title i'm sending you a hello note.
what does a "planner" role exemplify exactly?

6:08 PM  

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