Sunday, January 27, 2008

Zain: A New Look with a Global Vision

Zain's Logo Stands for Freshness, Boldness and Vitality

Zain, the 24-year old Kuwait-based mobile telecommunications company (formerly MTC), seems to work on a basic philosophy: You are never too old to dream a new dream.

If “dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions,” Zain's answer today to global competitiveness is an enviable vision of making itself the first communications company in the world to enter the global list of top 100 companies.
Zain – Middle East’s first mobile operator – envisions to become a global wireless operator executing its focussed 3x3x3 profitable expansion plan by 2011.

The 3x3x3 plan seeks to make Zain a global player in three stages: regional, international and global, with each stage completed in three years, with an aim of reaching a subscriber base of 70 million. Thus what the company aims to achieve in nine years, other companies have taken more than 27 years to achieve!

“Now, we are entering a new and dynamic chapter in our history,” Dr. Saad Al Barrak, CEO Zain Group said, “one that will take us into the top ten of global mobile telecommunications companies.”

The company aspires to enhance its client base in operational stages of expansion. In 2003, the company was operating in Kuwait alone; now it is operating in 22 countries.

With a modest beginning, today Zain has metamorphosed into a big corporate entity employing 13,500 employees serving over 36.47 million customers in seven Middle Eastern and now a major player on the African continen with presence in 15 sub-Saharan African countries.

At Zain, simplicity is the soul of strategic management. It focuses on “combining value creation” and “internal growth” from existing operations. And to pursue “aggressive expansion into new geographies” Zain is working on the following four strategic elements.

1. Mass market focus and segmented customer strategy: Zain is focusing to enter mass market in full throttle. It targets to reach at least 70% of the market – both in terms of subscribers as well as segment value. The subscriber growth will be generated through aggressively targeting under-penetrated segments, whereas value growth will come from the existing customer base. It aims to attain 50% market share in markets where Zain is a “leader” and a minimum of 30% market share in markets where Zain is a “challenger.”

2. Competitive positioning and differentiation strategy: What makes Zain competitive and different is not only its “price-only” focus but a “combination of differentiated elements” of their “value proposition.” The company classifies customers into value segments of different class and addresses them all.

3. High-value technology strategy: Invention and exploration are the technological buzzwords at Zain. Yet, it only invests in commercially viable technologies in order to benefit the customer from the full range of services that at the same time add value both internally and to end-customers.

4. Company management strategy: It aims at “synergy realization” and “excellence” by assuming and promoting a “people-oriented culture.” It also rewards and empowers its employees in line with their performance.

Last year, Zain launched ACE which it calls as “an implementation strategy” to realize the “target of the 3x3x3 vision.” The program seeks to extract “superior value” from existing assets with the help of accelerating growth in Africa; consolidating the existing assets and expanding it into adjacent markets. By ACE, Zain seeks to attain a US$ 6 Billion EBITDA exceeding 70 million customers and to become one of the top ten leading telecom companies in the world by market capitalization.

As a part of global new branding, Zain Group has come up with a new logo and theme – A Wonderful World. It captures Zain’s “energy, inspiration and diversity.” The new logo’s colourful identity reflects “freshness, boldness and vitality with the ‘swirl’ communicating the idea of an aura, something important to human life echoing growth, progression and diversity.”

The name Zain was selected after going through over a list of 400 names, a result of extensive research with the help of professional consultants. 'Zain' was chosen for its “simplicity, memorability and ease of pronunciation across the global marketplace.”

The brand name Zain reminds us of what Da Vinci said: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.As an added advantage, Zain was found to be rich in meaning and its appeal lay in its wide acceptability. For example, in Arabic, Zain means ‘beautiful, good and wonderful”, in Latin it means ‘dark horse’ and it has many positive meanings in other cultures found in Africa, Asia, Europe and beyond.

Zain’s values are based on three words: radiance, heart and belonging.

“Such values are not new to us… The difference now is that we have formally adopted them as business drivers,” Dr. Al Barrak said.

Zain has also successfully engaged with the world’s topmost telecom companies; most recently on January 7, 2008 when it signed a contract with Finnish-German telecom Group Nokia Siemens Network for 1 billion USD to build a mobile telephone network in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As the world gets globalized, the ‘dark horse’ of Zain keeps running its race in order to convert dreamt dreams into a reality.

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