Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Western Union in Pakistan

Western Union was established in mid of the nineteenth century initially with the name New York and Mississippi Telegraph. As name it self suggest that it carried out as Telegraph service but later on in 1871 they came up with the name Western Union because there telegraph services touched the West of North America and they introduced the money transfer facility across the region. More over WU no more were providing the Telegraph services. It became one of the biggest money transfer companies in the world with 410,000 locations in more than 200 countries.

In Pakistan, WU basically operate through agents since 1997. It established its marketing office in Karachi and a Liaison office in Islamabad. WU has 13 agents including Faisal Bank, NBP, UBL, Pakistan Post and various others. WU has 3800 locations in Pakistan especially in Punjab.

In addition to this, if we talk about the target market of WU, it is targeting on those people who are working in abroad. Mostly it focuses on blue color workers, less educated people who do not have accounts in bank or rather they are unaware of how to use the banking system. People who were more familiar with HUNDI or HAWALA system, that have been around the decades, which is informal system rather illegal system of sending money from one country to another country or from one place to another. But the main point is that consumer were having the trust and references which were associating with them with HUNDI or HAWALA. Besides that if we look at the locations WU have selected are well targeted because most of the labor who go abroad for earning are from Punjab followed by Pakhtun-khuwa. They mostly are less educated even some of them are unaware of the HUNDI system as illegal way of transferring the money.

State Bank of Pakistan took steps against all these informal channels and cracked down all these channels because 7 or 8 billions of dollors were remitted through these means in the last fiscal year.On one hand, it opened up the ways for Western Union to capture the market but on the other hand it created trouble for Western Union as how to communicate with consumers who are not educated enough to understand the Western Union's process. So, there marketing team came up with the idea that through ATL (Above The Line) they would educate the consumers about the process. WU created their Mock franchises in order to let consumer practicalise the process and make them familiarize with process.

So successfully WU educated their consumers about all the processes evolved in money transfer and conveyed the message of simple, instant, and reliable money transfer facility. Now they are doing their BTL activities by engaging in the print ads, TV, radio channels showing the traditional advertisement and reaching out the customers and emotionally engaging them. Recently, WU has launched its new campaign know as the YES campaign.

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