No.1 under pressure
Since foundation in 1896, Belgacom has become Belgium’s largest telecommunications company. Backed by the Belgian government, it expanded into mobile, TV and broadband internet services. In 1994 the mobile service was spun off into a separate company as Proximus. Over time, a number of similar or identical services were offered by both Belgacom and Proximus. So in 2010 Proximus and Belgacom re-integrated – however still operating under both brands.
Beginning in 2012, Saffron completed a brand audit and analysis to reach a view on the best brand architecture to use in the intensely competitive Belgian market. Belgacom’s market share in landline, broadband services and TV was under pressure from TeleNet in Flanders and Voo in Walonia. The complex ethno-social structure of Belgium made it difficult for the brand to position itself as equally relevant to the more Dutch-leaning north and the more French-leaning south. Proximus meanwhile was more popular across the country though its services too were coming under intense price pressure.
Getting closer with Proximus
Based on our analysis, complemented by a semiotic analysis done in collaboration with Space Doctors, Saffron recommended a one-brand approach. The brand narrative would focus on high quality and convergent services in a single, evolved brand. We facilitated a process during which the decision was made to proceed with Proximus as the younger, more relevant and ‘closer’ brand platform. The brand strategy was based on the brand idea of being ‘instantly close to what matters’ in life. The brand personality focuses on Proximus’ role as the champion for modern communications technology in Belgium, both for business and residential customers.
In 2013, Saffron was engaged to help re-launch the Proximus brand. An evolved market positioning was developed together with the internal brand team. Based on the existing visual equity including Proximus’ use of the colour purple, and the ‘proximity’ to human life that the name suggests, Saffron evolved the visual identity into one that is simple, authentic and at home in a multi-channel environment.
A fresh start
The programme delivered an updated visual identity across all of Proximus’ many touchpoints. Saffron worked on basic elements (logo, bespoke type, bespoke icon and illustration family, sound and animation) and how these work together in print, digital, retail environments as well as on TV, where we developed the full system for Proximus’ own channels.
Our visual work was described as a human translation of technological powers - expressed in a rounded, fluent and connective design. The new brand helps consumers connect with Proximus in a way that’s relevant to them – and encourages them to embrace technology with confidence.
The brand was launched on 29 September 2014 to overwhelming internal support and external press recognition across Belgium. Initial feedback shows enthusiasm amongst customers and strong staff engagement.