Marketing Strategies of Idea Brand- What an Idea!

Marketing Strategies of  Idea Telecom- No Ajnabee with Idea 4G

Company Name – Idea
Founder – Kumar Mangalam Birla (Aditya Birla Group)

Incorporated as Birla Communications Ltd in 1995, following a shareholders’ agreement between the Aditya Birla Group, Tata Group, and AWS Group, it came to be known as Idea Cellular Ltd in 2002. It became a 100% subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group In 2006.

› How It All Started

Idea Cellular Ltd. is mobile services operator with its headquarters situated in Mumbai, Maharashtra. In 1995 it started as Birla Communications Limited with GSM licenses in Gujarat and Maharashtra circles. Following a joint venture, in 1996 it changed its name to Birla AT&T Communications Limited. In 2002 Birla AT&T was renamed as Idea Cellular Limited and by 2003 Idea had reached a subscriber mark of two million.


› Launching

The launching happened on May 1, 2002, when the name was changed to Idea Cellular Limited from Birla AT&T. The AWS Group exited from the Company in September of 2005. The Tata Group ceased to be a shareholder of the Company on June 2006 and sold all their shares in the Company to the Aditya Birla Group.  

Offering the 2G, 3G, and 4G services, idea is a pan-India integrated wireless broadband operator. It has its own NLD (National Long Distance) and ILD (International Long Distance) operations, and ISP (Internet service provider) license. Idea ranks sixth in the global rankings of operators in subscriber terms, with nearly 200 million subscribers, for single country operations.


idea telecom print ad


› Idea’s marketing strategy and Interesting Reasons behind its Grand Success

  • Idea has mainly focused on the rural segments of the country to increase its density of users. The Tier one and tier two cities had a mobile service density of 134% whereas rural areas had just 29%. Hence Idea Cellular then built on this plan and constructed quite a bunch of retail outlets in rural areas to help serve those who were technologically illiterate. The rural-centric approach that Idea took paid-off.
  • Idea’s strategy of moving into the north and central India (parts of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (west), Maharashtra etc), which comprises around a third of the country’s population, helped it significantly increase subscriber base. They bought mobility at an affordable price.
  • The Tier one and Tier two users generally consumed high amounts data hence they were  given dedicated Time Slot Plans when their data usage was detected to be maximum which in turn resulted in revenue generation.
  • Idea Cellular was a late entrant to a category where Airtel and Vodafone were already good players. But after the merger with Escotel Telecommunications Limited in 2006 and mergers with other subsidiaries by 2007 Idea become a strong network of 21 million subscribers and going so forth by 2017 with its business strategies Idea had become a pan-India mobile broadband operator.
  • Idea cellular was the first mobile operator to announce the Mobile Number Portability (MNP). Mobile Number Portability entitles a mobile subscriber to switch from the existing cellular service provider to any other operator, while retaining the mobile number. Idea cellular was the most favoured in the MNP chart as it got many subscribers porting in from other mobile services. Idea probably gained more because of its brand awareness and campaigns.
  • The idea campaigns- Idea campaigns have played a major role in bringing in tons of subscribers. Their brand had bought forth the promise of ‘An Idea can change your life’. With a variety of advertisements giving away social messages, their unique campaigns always helped roping in more consumers.


› Idea Advertising Campaigns

Idea has had a number of success sweeping campaigns

#Idea’s ‘What an Idea Sirji’ was a series of campaign showcasing various social issues and they were endorsed by the then Brand Ambassador of Idea,  Abhishek Bachchan. The Sirji character has won millions of hearts with his smart ideas and witty comments. Few of the hit campaigns in the series were:-

# ‘Use Mobile Save Paper’  IDEA Cellular’s new ad campaign the mobile brand was seen promoting the idea of mobile VAS usage for vast number of day to day activities, to save paper.


#”Education for all” A brilliant ad from Idea Cellular showcasing the potential power of the mobile phone in developing countries like India to radically change the educational landscape there; education can simply be provided through the cellular networks.

#“Breaking Language Barrier” This campaign highlights the fact that the language barrier can be broken with a simple Idea.

Some other famous campaigns were ‘Championing a world without caste’; ‘Walk When You Talk’, ‘Participative Governance’.

# After the series came the ‘No Ullu Banaoing’ campaign it was for the promotions of its mobile internet. It said everybody out there is ready to make a fool of you. You need to be alert, you need to be informed, and you need to be empowered.

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