New TIM logo

7 Ideas from Italy to Simplify Your Brand

Carlotta Ventura photo - simplify your brand
Carlotta Ventura is leading the years-long rebranding at TIM.

Telecom Italia is rebranding, transforming its “house of brands” into a single unified TIM master brand. Carlotta Ventura, group senior vice president-brand strategy and media at Telecom Italia, is leading the charge.

“We’ve decided to have just one brand for all the commercial offerings,” says Ventura. “Simplicity of choice is one of the core reasons that we’re changing the brands.”

In the eyes of customers, mobility is ascendant. So the company chose to turn its existing mobile brand TIM into the master brand for its entire business. The choice parallels France Telecom’s shift to Orange and Telefonica’s move to Movistar.

This month, the new TIM logo appeared for the first time. A new TIM brand promise is launching: Connected to Life. Always. Everywhere. Better.

And TIM has rebuilt a website with its enviably short address – tim.it – just 5 letters long.

Customers of the new TIM find the company speaking in a new brand voice. “This is very tough work since we know that Telecom Italia has one style, TIM has another style and different touch points have had their own styles,” Ventura says.

“We want to be perceived as a very trustable and mature brand – not too young and overly friendly. It’s difficult and it’s an exciting challenge. But of course we want to address customers as ‘you,’ which is not so easy in Italian.”

As in other Romance languages, Italian has two forms of you. The informal version tu is used with family, children and close friends. The formal version Lei is used to address strangers, acquaintances, older people, or people in authority. (In TIM’s #2 market, Brazil, Portuguese also has two forms of you.)

While such fine distinctions are elusive to English speakers, think about whether you greet your neighbor formally as “Mr. Smith” or informally as “Bob.” Which brand voice fits your company?

“In Italy, we have lost the formality of the British, but we have not become as familiar as the Americans,” Ventura explains. “I don’t want a young woman who approaches me in a shop to seem too familiar, but I do want her to seem friendly.

“We will need to differentiate in our brand voice in the different customer touch points, offering a friendly tone without seeming too familiar. We want to be clever enough to use the language that is correct for each situation.”

Ventura offers 7 insights about branding for marketers:

  1. Simplify customers’ choices.
  2. Define a clear brand promise.
  3. Unify the brand to add efficiency and effectiveness.
  4. Position your brand on the global stage.
  5. ‘Future-proof’ your brand.
  6. Asking employees to change the brand is like asking them to change their DNA.
  7. Prepare employees to speak in your brand voice as they become brand ambassadors.

Ventura interviewed with me for the Marketing Upside column in Global Telecom Business. Here’s the whole story.

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