Series on Adapting to Change: Oordee – Delivering Explosive Value Through Change

When one of the richest economy’s decided it wanted change it choose a unique brand identity as the precursor of that change.


The state of Qatar is the world’s richest economy, per capita. In 2005, its state-owned telecom company Qtel, led by chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, and CEO Dr Nasser Mohammed Marafih, embarked on an ambitious acquisition spree; by 2012, Qtel owned 17 telecoms operators in the Muslim world and had become the world’s fastest growing telecoms operator by revenue.


And each of the acquired telcos had been left to operate largely as they had done pre-acquisition. In 2012, however, Qtel began to shift its strategy away from growth through acquisition towards growth through integration. Sheik Abdullah and Dr Nasser decided to pull all their diverse telecoms brands into one mega-brand, Ooredoo. This would give them the opportunity to focus on what they actually wanted their international telecom company to deliver – transformational change in the telecom sector.

The change management teams set out to identify what they wanted their brand to stand for. They defined a series of unique branding propositions that would, ultimately, give them standout recognition. They wanted to offer the Muslim world greater freedom of communication and choice and, in particular, they wanted to be seen as helping rural communities and women gain a voice.

They wanted to change their world for the better. In February 2013 the new global brand Ooredoo was launched from a standing start in a matter of weeks in Qatar, with the iconic footballer Lionel Messi introduced by Sheik Abdullah as the global brand ambassador. It was a stunning success, gaining market share within weeks. With a customer base of more than 95 million people in 17 countries, Ooredoo rapidly became a leading international brand. Alignment, clarity of purpose and a ruthless focus on implementation showed the world what Qatar and Qataris can do.