A few weeks ago, Kenya’s third largest telecommunications operator Telkom Orange rebranded into Telkom. It was a momentous occasion that saw the operator not only launch new products but also shed the old Orange corporate colour.
The logo and slogan also changed as ‘the sleeping giant’ set to position itself as a viable alternative to millions of subscribers who have stuck with Kenya’s largest telecommunications provider Safaricom.
Telkom which chose the words ‘Moving forward’ as its new slogan, also adopted blue and yellow as its new corporate colour.
Most observers and journalists have discussed extensively the impact the of the new call rates, internet packages and short-messaging services. But not even one attempted to explain what changing the corporate colours from orange (which matched the colour scheme of its erstwhile owners Orange France) to blue would have for the company that has struggled to compete in a fluid industry.
Not even the management cared to explain whether there was any value proposition in transitioning from colour orange to light blue.
“This important shift in Telkom’s strategic brand is in response to a need of reaching out to varied customers with the right products and solutions reflecting current market dynamics,” said the chief executive Aldo Mareuse said Mareuse.
However, colour plays a significant role in branding. An article in magazine The Entrepreneur noted that “purchasing intent is greatly affected by colours due to their effect on how a brand is perceived.”
It explained that “colours influence how customers view the “personality” of the brand in question.” If the personality of a brand is excitement then it is only appropriate that a warm colour such as red is chosen.
There has a psychology of colours in branding which most marketing experts believe influence the manner in which consumers interact with brands. Perhaps a change in colour scheme might bring in new customers. Moreover, it is important that new brands pick colours that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors. There is no way Telkom would have chosen colour green or red which are used by Safaricom and Airtel Kenya respectively.
“Additional studies have revealed our brains prefer immediately recognisable brands, which makes colour an important element when creating a brand identity,” noted the article in The Entrepreneur.
A number of Kenyan companies have changed their colours, hoping to bring a new feeling among the customers. Sidian Bank, formerly K-Rep Bank, just as Telkom, got new corporate colours, a new logo and a new tagline. K-Rep Bank which later became Sidian Bank after being acquired by Centum Investment, transformed from brown to white, yellow and dark blue.
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Other companies that changed their colours include Zain Kenya when it changed from KenCell’s pink colour. Others, however, have not changed their colours even after rebranding.
This includes Pan Africa Insurance Holdings which rebranded to Sanlam Kenya Plc after the insurance firm was acquired by the South African Sanlam Life Assurance. The company maintained its blue colour.