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Ooredoo: ringing the changes


Brand expert tells Kipp that Qtel's rebranding is a public expression of the company’s global footprint in a converging sector.

April 21, 2013 11:07 by

It’s been almost two months since that fateful day in Barcelona, when His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, chairman of Qatar Telecom (Qtel) announced to the Mobile World Congress that the company would be undergoing global rebranding.

It wasn’t about changing the name or the logo, but reviewing its entire identity as a global force. “From this moment on, we are Ooredoo,” said the visibly enthusiastic chairman. “Ooredoo means ‘I want’ in Arabic and it demonstrates our intimacy and engagement with our customers,” he added.

At the time of the announcement, reactions to the new quirky name were mostly that of amusement. As with any global corporate change, there were those that supported it and those that condemned it – but the majority appeared to be mildly amused.

“Can you imagine the reaction when the branding agency pitched ‘Orange’ to the Hutchinson Telecom board?” says Russell James, managing creative director at James Branding, whose agency has a growing portfolio, with the likes of Emirates Airlines and Aston Martin as clients. “I’m sure it must have been met with reservation, but just like Deutsche Telecom to T-Mobile or BT Cellnet to O2, Orange has gone onto become a power brand in Europe.”

Love it or hate it, it’s an interesting move, to say the least. To see a traditional word being used in a non-traditional way is definitely strange, but quite unique as well. Scott Feasey, Managing Director of Iris Middle East says while the name doesn’t strike him as particularly international, branding is often less about a name and more about what the brand says and does.

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