If any company could stealthily change its brand identity in Nigeria, that company is definitely not Etisalat. In the course of nine years, the telecom giant built a massive base of tenacious fans who always hold it up to the highest standards of quality and taste.
So, when Etisalat renamed itself 9Mobile on July 18, it immediately found itself under an intense spotlight. Although every reviewer immediately accepted the 9Mobile and new logo because their meanings are quite obvious, you couldn’t stop the speculations about the connotations, which have only grown louder since the brand re-launch.
But why is everyone so fascinated by the 9Mobile logo? How is it different from the old Etisalat brand icon? How unique is it in the telecom brand community? We did some comparisons. Let’s go.
The figure ‘9’ in the 9Mobile is unmissable. Even though the company only revealed it a couple of weeks ago, it has become quite well known. Imposing, unusual, and modern, it does an excellent job of attracting and sustaining audience attention.
However, it couldn’t be more different from the old Etisalat logo. At the centre of that company’s brand icon is a visual device, which we’ve heard them call “The Teardrop”. It’s the centrepiece of the brand’s identity worldwide. Even without the words that usually accompanied it, once you saw the ‘Teardrop’, you knew it was Etisalat. Now, 9Mobile is absolutely done with the ‘Teardrop’.
Look around—MTN, Glo, Airtel, Ntel. No other brand has a logo that’s as in-your-face as 9Mobile’s. The logo is incredibly confident and solid-looking; it instantly suggests that the brand would have one believe that is exactly who they are. At first we wondered if the 9 in the logo was too large, compared to the ‘mobile’ under it, but then, maybe that’s what the company was going for: an absolutely large 9.
Here, the difference between Etisalat and 9Mobile may not be so obvious to the casual observer, especially because the dominant colour is green. However, the question is: what shade of green? The 9Mobile green is a tad deeper than the Etisalat green. It’s also closer to the Nigerian green, whose shade reminds you of lush vegetation. Perhaps, this is one way 9Mobile further Nigerianise itself.
9Mobile has dropped the silver/grey in the Etisalat logo, though. Maybe it’s all for the best.
You’re right: the typeface is not the same. Etisalat used a custom font in its logo design and Neo Tech in its corporate communications, but 9Mobile has something that looks a little close to Neo Tech still obviously different. It may be a custom font, created purposely for 9Mobile. Maybe someday we will know the font used here, in which case, we’ll definitely let you know.
Is this logo right for a company with a ginormous youth following? Is it modern and forward-looking? Will it stay fresh long enough to court the interest of its preferred audience? Does it capture the vigour of Nigerians? Is it Nigerian enough? We think the logo ticks all these boxes. And for that, it’s a perfect fit for 9Mobile.