Monday, September 08, 2008

Western Union Money Transfer : Money and More

Corporate Brand : Western Union
Company : First Data Corporation

Brand Analysis Count : 347

Western Union Money Transfer is world's largest money transfer company . The company has its operation in over 200 countries . Western Union has a rich tradition of over 150 years.

Western Union came into existence in 1851 as Newyork & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph company. As the name suggests, the company was in the telegraph business. In 1856 the company changed its name to Western Union .

Western Union started its money transfer business only in 1871. It was only in 198o that the company's revenue from money transfer exceeded revenue from telegraph business.

Western Union is a pioneer in introducing many firsts . It was the company that invented Stock Ticker. Western Union also invented the electronic money transfer and in 1914 the company invented the credit card.

Now Western Union is a key player in the global money transfer industry. The company generates majority of the revenue through the consumer to consumer ( c2c ) money transfers. Western Union is now a part of First Data Corporation which is a Forune 500 company.

The business model works something like this :
The company has a network of agents for receiving and sending money across various geographies. When the sender of the money contacts the agent, the information is fed into a common data processing system. The sender has to pay a transfer fee for sending the money. Within minutes, the money is transferred to the receiver.

Western Union gets revenue from the transfer fee and also from the difference in the exchange rate spread.

Although Western Union was in India from mid nineties, the company began to aggressively market only from 2000. India is a big market for money transfer agencies. The target market for these companies are the migrant workers .
According to reports, Indian diaspora is earning around $ 160 bn annually. The money that is transferred to India is roughly $15 Bn annually .

Western Union has been adopting a unique way of marketing especially in India. The brand has been investing heavily in brand promotion. Along with the brand promotion ,Western Union has been expanding its reach by opening agency offices across the length and breadth of India.

Watch the commercial here : Western Union

Earlier in money transfers, it was the sender who would chose the money transfer agency. Now through extensive networking and building brand, receivers tell the senders to opt for Western Union. So the brand has changed the consumer behavior in its favor. The brand give customers confidence and the reach give the customers convenience.

The brand building of Western Union has been highly localised. I never thought that this was an international giant because the ads were very Indian and very local. The company started its campaign highlighting its key differentiator i.e time. It takes ten minutes to transfer your money .
Now the brand has moved to a more emotional platform in line with the global positioning. Globally the brand talks about " Money and More. " .Now the brand talks about how it enables customers to realise their dreams and wishes bridging the time and distance.

Western Union is a classic example of a global brand with local strategy.