From Venice to Vladivostok, VimpelCom is the world’s 7th biggest telco, with brands that reach 10% of the global population. The business serves 235 million customers across 12 countries as diverse as Russia, Italy, Ukraine and Pakistan.
The business is realigning itself around a new vision, a vision worthy of its immense scale; to bring new digital experiences to hundreds of millions of people in emerging markets, connecting them in a financially viable, easy and personal way.
To meet this ambition, the business is transforming from a lumbering telco giant to an agile global tech business. This reinvention is signified by its rebrand to VEON, and will be delivered through its newly launched personal internet platform. Also named VEON, the app at the centre of this transformation offers always-on communication, account management and a world of services chosen specifically for the individual customer, all for free.
We were introduced to VEON’s senior leadership in July 2016. We were asked to ready them for the new product’s entry into its first market in October – with three months to launch, fundamentals such as the name and brand were not yet fixed.
We embraced the challenge; building on the research and naming work delivered by Landor, we rapidly created and brought to life a slew of options for the product identity, shaping what the product could be and how it might be experienced.
Working in an agile approach that blended strategic and creative expertise, we helped the team to make swift, focused decisions. Within a week we had achieved a decision on the name and brand architecture, and had established the creative direction for the brand identity. We built this identity into the product interface, creating the energetic onboarding animation (using playful photographic assets captured on shoots in Rome and London) and developed a light UI system that informed the look and feel throughout the app. We worked closely with Native, the product design partner, hosting daily standups with both creative teams. By creating an identity to live within the digital product first, and stretching it beyond the screen into hundreds of different potential real world applications, we could deliver VEON a system that is fit for the future.
At the centre of the digital-first identity system we created was the yellow V, sitting much larger than the wordmark, giving the brand instant colour recognition. For a new business that needed to meet and connect with an audience of millions across 12 different markets, this confident symbol would work across cultures and alphabets. Similarly, the VEON typeface – Hero – was chosen not only for clarity and standout, but also for its versatility. It remains unmistakably VEON in Latin, Cyrillic and Georgian alphabets.
The dominant V of the symbol inspired the brand personality traits – valiant, vigorous and vibrant – that inform the way both product and corporate brands look, speak and act. We gave sharp focus to the product’s benefits by creating a story written from the customer’s point of view. We developed a tone of voice capable of flexing in markets as disparate as Italy and Bangladesh, and ranging from corporate communications in the company HQ to the accompanying messaging for the product UI.
Beyond developing VEON’s living identity system, we worked with individual territories to provide them with go-to-market toolkits, in order to launch this disruptive new proposition with force. On-screen graphics, corporate environments, stationery and tone of voice toolkits equip VEON’s in-house teams and agencies to bring the brand to life.
All assets and toolkits are available through Moving Brands custom-built design platform Ark. As a single access point, Ark gives thousands of practitioners the tools they need to create coherent, appropriate marketing communications and design experiences for the diverse cultures and markets in which they operate.
Within an unusually unforgiving deadline, we delivered in time for the launch at this month’s Mobile World Congress. The brand can scale to make a compelling statement, wrought large on facades of corporate buildings, yet still command attention within the compact digital world of the VEON platform. In vastly different markets where telcos are undifferentiated and represent a world well out of step with their users, VEON is democratic and simple, yet enticing and sophisticated.