The Start Of Something Very Big


Having worked with so many different brands in the region throughout the past 18 years we have enjoyed a lot of proud moments. Some, however, naturally stand out over others. Back in 1998 we embarked on what was at the time one of the most significant branding projects in the region.

Zaman was approached by the then ‘Emirates Telecommunications Corporation’ to join the process of evolving them into a customer facing service company with the capacity to grow internationally.  At the time very little was known locally about branding beyond its delivery of a new logo. So patience and the sharing of our knowledge were essential at every stage.

The Etisalat brand was of particular National importance as it was the only brand that was omnipresent in all Emirates as the sole provider of its service.  Everyone in the UAE had to deal with them so this project would touch everyone at home and at work.

The challenge was very much to change the perception inside the company and across the UAE that this government institution was radically changing for the good of its customers.

To achieve this Zaman created a brand and launch platform that was very personal to the audience and related closely to them as individuals.

We switched the official name to the ‘street’ reference everyone used, Etisalat. We created a new logo mark intended to represent a human form and radiating sound waves of communication breaking from within its own boundaries. The dominant green spoke of a balance, security and growth.

The brand mark was based on a strong and detailed visual identity system that was applied to all the collateral’s – stationery, forms, bills, receipts – and communications tools – brochures, flyers, adverts, posters, signage etc.  A comprehensive visual guidelines manual was provided so the brand managers could keep control of the brand’s development through the 100’s of channels and contact points they had to manifest the change.

Redirecting the mind set of the people within the organization was critical to delivering an authentic change to the customer experience. To support this we commissioned a photo shoot, which captured the unseen human face of the organization – people working with and for people. We shared it across the whole organization just prior to launch through a brand book, a presentation, and an intranet and poster campaign.  Everyone in the organization got new business cards delivered in a personalized cardholder on the day of the launch.


For the public launch we created animated illustrations that communicated positive yet ‘soft’ messages to customers rather than harsh over ambitious corporate messages. The logo was launched locally with huge, first of their kind, building banners installed on each of Etisalat’s head office buildings in each Emirate and unfurled on the day. A new day.

The Etisalat project of 98 / 99 was a truly a milestone project both for Zaman ad for the UAE. It was followed by a huge wave of re-branding and new brand development across the UAE as the modern commercial age of swept through the UAE’s local businesses at full speed. Etisalat’s change was a true precursor to the incredible developments that were to happen over the next 10 years.

For Zaman, the successful launch of the project lead to Omantel and Qtel branding projects, as well as a host of projects with local companies. Some huge and some start up and from a broad spectrum of industries, all these companies recognized they had to respond to the huge change in the needs of the market place for organizations driven by their brands. They had to become brands.