Focus on customer experience and digital innovation win praises


KUWAIT/DUBAI: Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa was awarded the highly coveted Best Overall Operator of the Year award at the 2016 edition of the CommsMEA Awards ceremony. Zain Iraq was also awarded the best Marketing Campaign of the Year accolade for its 'Hassa Eliya' (Now for Me) multi-faceted campaign that focused on inspiring and empowering young Iraqi talent.

At a gala event held at the Conrad hotel in Dubai on 9 November, 2016, Zain Group was identified as the region's best performing mobile operator having devised a clear strategy that it is implementing over the next five years, which is based on taking advantage of the operator's competencies including its people, networks, leading brand and geographic coverage.

The CommsMEA awards judging panel acknowledged Zain Group's six strategic initiatives aimed at making the company future-ready and capture the enormous potential of the regional and global digital arena as being particularly insightful. These plans extend to 1) Customer Experience; 2) Cost Optimization; 3) Talent Development; 4) Zain Digital Frontier and Innovation; 5) Customer Value Management and 6) Enterprise, all of which are based on supporting Zain Group's effort to capture a significant market share of smart city and digital revolution developments.

Zain Group is currently placing a great deal of emphasis on implementing data revenue optimization initiatives and enhancing its customer experience, to positive effect. The operator's efforts to place the customer at the heart of everything it does has successfully built brand and loyalty, which has led it to maintain market leadership by customer numbers in the majority of markets in which it operates.

Commenting on Zain Group's honor, Scott Gegenheimer, Group CEO said, "We operate in a highly competitive industry, where the margin between success and failure is very thin, and being identified as the Best Overall Operator for 2016 is some accolade. We would like to thank the judging panel for also recognizing Zain Iraq's marketing efforts, and let our customers know that we shall continue to innovate and work tirelessly to give them an exceptional mobile experience."

In March 2016, Zain's operation in Iraq launched a multi-faceted marketing campaign dubbed "Hassa Eliya," (Now for Me). The ground-breaking marketing initiative focused on inspiring and empowering young Iraqi talent by encouraging them to explore their potential and skills, and equipping them with the necessary tools to help achieve their goals.

The first initiative utilized in the program was a specially created "Hassa Eliya" Facebook page that served as a platform for young Iraqis to voice their ambitions and which showcased a newly produced television commercial, which garnered an impressive five million views in its first 72 hours of release. Some six months later, this viewership number had increased to 16 million with 70 million impressions, with a total engagement that exceeded 550,000 young Iraqis inside the country and from around the globe.

The program's focus was particularly compelling given the state of socio-economic turmoil that exists in Iraq, where the youth in particular may feel as though their future prospects are bleak and that they do not have a great deal to contribute to society. "Hassa Eliya" managed to transcend being just an enormously successful marketing campaign for Zain, and ultimately made a real impact on people's lives in the country and throughout Iraqi community at large and deservedly the effort was recognized as the best marketing campaign of 2016.

Zain's efforts to constantly expand and improve its services are well-documented, with the operator having tied up with leading technology and content companies including UBER , and global games developer, Zeptolab, to bring to market a number of popular applications, in many cases under some pretty unique and pioneering circumstances.  Zain also made strategic investments in smart city consulting firm, neXgen and mobility solutions developer and consultancy firm FOO to fast-track its digital lifestyle offerings.

Additionally, Zain entered several service agreements to enhance its offerings for the provision of an end-to-end mobile money solution that saw the launch of mobile money services for the unbanked in Jordan and Iraq, and which is in the process of being deployed across other operations.  Zain also introduced direct operator billing (carrier billing), making several Zain operations among the first in the region to enable customers to safely and seamlessly pay for goods from a third-party content or service provider digitally, by charging the transaction to their monthly mobile phone bill or through their prepaid mobile credit.

Sustainability, transparency and thought-leadership are at the very core of Zain's business and this is reflected in every aspect of the company's day-to-day operational activities. Zain annual Sustainability Report highlights the company's continued hold of its regional leadership position in pursuing its sustainability agenda and supporting its communities through outreach activities such as capacity-building, education, socio-economic development, and environmental stewardship. In addition, with a focus on supporting the entrepreneurial start-up ecosystem, Zain partnered with the MIT Pan Arab Start Up Competition for the past two years and most recently supported the global MIT Innovate for Refugees competition.