The laws of physics demonstrate that “For every trend, there is an equal and opposite counter trend” and I am a firm believer in this principle. There never is an absolute truth, rather there are a series of forces that shape our lives and we each choose what suits us – there is no black and white, but a series of grey.
And so it is with the #etisalatchallenge. For years people have been complaining that the Telco “doesn’t listen” “is old fashioned” and “doesn’t reach out to the community” – and then finally when it does, it gets bagged out on social media.
I know there are only 2 Telco’s in the UAE but that is precisely why the #etisalatchallenge is so bold – because rather than rest on their laurels, Etisalat is trying to show the market that they are serious about offering best in market products and services. And if you check out their web site, they do have offers that are first in market and quite useful for some.
What this campaign has done is create a conversation around Etisalat – it invites people to be part of the conversation either through the #etisalatchallenge or via opinions about the campaign – and that’s what every brand wishes for, to start a conversation.
I think rather than critisizing Etisalat’s move, we should be supporting and encouraging this gesture by a prominent and iconic UAE brand. Maybe it could have been done in a more relevant way (somebody should have told the agency how to develop likeable content that gains traction, or how to use brand ambassadors meaningfully, and how to listen to customers on social media platforms and solve their problems) – but it takes guts to challenge people and live up to the challenge. And, taking a Challenger position is not something usually done by an established player.
Brands that want to stay relevant constantly innovate and challenge themselves. And this is exactly what Etisalat has done. And now Etisalat needs to go further by listening and learning from customer feedback. And I challenge other brands in the UAE to be open and transparent about their products and customer service, and to put in place mechanisms that help identify and resolve customer complaints.