Inside Telkom’s rebrand that targeted millennials

Telkom changed its colours from orange to blue and yellow. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Telkom changed its colours from orange to blue and yellow. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Telkom Kenya has reported an increase in its customer base by a million people in six months, following its rebranding from Orange Kenya in June 2017, and investing Sh5bn in upgrade of Internet services.

The Communications Authority figures for July-September 2017 were already revealing a jump in Telkom’s customer base by 18.5 per cent from the previous quarter, to 3.4 million, from 2.8 million, increasing market share by 1.2 per cent to 8.4 per cent.

Telkom improved its Internet service in order to better appeal to the Kenyan millennials, which is its target market and uses social media as its first source for news and information.

The telecoms firm invested Sh5 billion in upgrading its network, rolling out 500 new sites nationally to help it launch 4G Internet and give its customers faster Internet speeds. It put in another Sh600 million to upgrade ibackbone and fibre infrastructure.

This drove an almost immediate rise in its market share in data services, to 7.3 per cent by end of September 2017, from 6.2 per cent three months earlier.


“We offered consumers a promotional offer of free daily 4G data for our subscribers for a month after the rebrand. This was so that they can experience the fast download and upload speeds on our network. We are now targeting to reach four million subscribers within Q1, 2018,” said Aldo Mareuse, Telkom CEO.

Besides improving its Internet, the company changed its brand colours, from orange and black to blue and yellow to appeal to younger generation.

Research shows that brand colours play an important role in influencing consumer purchase. The colour yellow is optimistic and youthful and is often used to grab the attention of consumers, according to behavioural analytics and engagement platform Kissmetrics.

Meanwhile, researchers have found that consumers find blue to be trustworthy and it creates a sense of security, appealing to consumers seeking reliable services.

“We conducted a lot of research among consumers, customers and partners to understand their expectations of the new brand.... From the results, we found that consumers responded positively to these (blue and yellow) new and vibrant colours,” said Mareuse.

Telkom Kenya also wanted consumers to identify it as a local product that seeks to offer value to Kenyan consumers, rather than as an international brand that was competing for the market.

This shift towards the positioning of Telkom as a local brand followed the sale by France Telecom of its majority stake in the company to Helios LLP, a private equity investor based in London.

In getting consumers to identify the brand as local, Telkom Kenya deployed a multi-pronged marketing approach that saw it engage with consumers through personal interactions, across publicity visits to markets, shopping centres, schools, and colleges. The success of this approach had been proven before.

A case study by Laurent Muzellec and Mary Lambkin of the University College Dublin in Ireland, analysed how consumers perceived the rebranding of the former telco Eircell into Vodafone Ireland.

They found that after the rebrand, Irish consumers perceived it as an English firm, where it was seen as an international brand before.

- African Laughter