Proximus’ marketing moves up a gear

How can you best approach a change of brand? How do people buy and how can you influence the buying experience? How do you communicate in an environment in which social media plays an increasingly significant role? “We knew that Vlerick had in-house specialists with the right experience to answer these questions”, says Patrick Collin, marketing manager at Proximus.

Three modules

These specialists were Professor Frank Goedertier, Professor Gino Van Ossel and Professor Steven Van Belleghem, who each took on an intensive one-and-a-half day module: Branding, Shopper behaviour and Branding in the digital age.

These modules were part of an ambitious training programme, the Marketing Excellence Academy, that Proximus had set up for its marketeers with the aim of sharpening their marketing skills and intensifying even further their contact with the consumer. When the Academy was begun back in 2013, one of the great challenges was rebranding: the transition between three brands, Belgacom and Proximus, to a single core brand, Proximus, a task that was perfectly suited to Frank Goedertier and his colleagues.


“The sessions were made up of an ideal combination of theory and concrete case studies that made it clear what works, what doesn’t and why”, says Patrick. “And the exercises were focused on the work and situations at Proximus. So you didn’t have to imagine yourself in the role of a car salesman for example (laughs).”

He has good memories of the Shopper Behaviour module. “Our marketing campaigns are normally geared to the user, but that is not necessarily the same as the shopper. It is therefore a good thing to target your marketing message in shops at the shopper. That means that you have to learn to communicate differently. For many participants this was a real eye-opener.”

How do you create a buzz?

The module on Branding in the digital age also left a deep impression. “Perhaps because social media is still relatively new to most of us. We discovered the importance of storytelling—selling without selling. And we learned how you can help create a positive buzz on social media. Not that you can force such a buzz but you have to be able to spot it and capitalise on it when the opportunity presents itself.”

“Do you know what was funny? Professor Van Belleghem had just explained the importance of sharing positive stories through social media, to be an ambassador for your company. Just then, we got a text message saying that Dominique Leroy was to become our new CEO. Everyone of course promptly shared it and there were a lot of positive reactions to this. It was a perfect example of how good news can lead to an—albeit small—buzz.”

To be continued!

The feedback from the participants to the modules was unanimously positive. There is already a follow-up in the offing. “The training course was so valuable that we want to ensure that its impact endures. A good basis was laid down and now we want to set a few things in stone by putting into practice what we have learned in the first modules—not on the basis of case studies or exercises but adapted to a selection of concrete marketing campaigns.”

For those marketing campaigns, the participants must set up a plan of action in advance. Over the course of two workshops, Frank Goedertier, Gino Van Ossel and Steven Van Belleghem will cast a critical eye over the proposals, challenge participants and advise and coach them on how to further elaborate their marketing campaign.

Patrick is already very enthusiastic: “I mainly look after the acquisition of new clients, but during the first series of modules, my exercises were on the subject of sponsoring. The workshops will be based on one of my own marketing campaigns. I am really looking forward to it!”

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