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Tre’s brand revamp: Strategy for profitable growth

May 02, 2023

Stockholm, Sweden - March 3, 2021: Close-up view of the telecom operator 3 ( Hi3G Access AB) logotype at the head office in Stockholm.

Karen Chandler

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This post was guest authored by Jim Carlberg, who most recently held the role as Head of Marketing for telecom operator Tre/3.

“In early 2019, Tre had high brand awareness, but only 14% of the Swedish population would consider choosing us. Traditionally, we attracted customers with discounts, which impacted long-term margins and retention rates. Tre needed to make people really want to choose our brand again to get back to profitable growth.

So, we asked Nepa for help. We conducted extensive strategic work that resulted in a new strong foundation to build on; A completely different segmentation model for the market, new core target groups, updated definitions of drivers that create consideration, a revamped strategic position based on growth potential, and finally, a new communication concept.

The telecom industry in Sweden has often been associated with complex contracts, making it hard for people to compare operators. The analysis showed that a “simple, flexible, and helpful operator” would have a higher consideration – and this was attributes that most operators lacked. For us it suddenly became clear, we know Tre delivers on all these attributes, but our consumers didn’t.

Based on this insight we asked the question – How do we create a concept that both increases liking, consideration, and differentiates us from competitors?

We found the answer in Tre’s internal culture, which had been named among the top best workplaces in Sweden for several years in a row. With this as a starting point we could prove to the Swedish people who Tre really are, without making up an untrue story; the TREvliga operator (a wordplay with our brand name and the Swedish word for “friendly and nice”). Our new communication concept became effective because we chose to present what people look for in an operator whilst remaining true and unique to Tre. We removed all asterisks, avoided complicated terms, and pretentious words – we simply made it much more “Trevligt” for everyone.

Based on the clear direction and fresh insights from the work conducted with Nepa, we focused extensively on innovation and development over the next three years, launching products and services better suited to market needs, and marketed the brand and our offerings in a new and more interesting way.

“Trevligt” is now fully integrated in the business. It affects everything, from how we attract and onboard new employees, how we prioritize our roadmap for products and services, how we meet customers in all channels, and of course – our communicative expression and how we market Tre.

When “Trevligt” was launched, we managed to fill several needs with one approach. We started from something that was true for Tre, and that the entire company and culture could stand behind and live every day. We created something unique to the business that no other competitor could own. And we dramatized it in a way that broke through in an industry that is among the largest media buyers in Sweden, where everyone is essentially shouting about the same thing.

In other words, we questioned old truths, ignored what everyone else did, and aimed high on the value of building a strong brand from the inside out.

The results have been nothing but amazing. Brand consideration has increased from 14% to 18%, and Ad Liking doubled from an average 22% to 44% over the last campaign. The business is now flourishing – last year our customer base increased by 7.5%, with improved margins and profitability. Customer churn has decreased, and NPS increased by 12%. As a result of our new strategy, based on initial work with Nepa, last year we had the best financial year in Tre’s history since we started back in 2003.”

Jim’s top tips on how to best work with insights

Utilize market research to identify consumer needs: No more guesswork – to understand market trends and what’s really driving your customers behaviours is vital. Tre’s strategic work shaped our marketing and communication strategy, increasing all of our brand and business KPI’s.

Align marketing with brand values and culture: Tre used its top-rated company culture to create a communication strategy reflecting our values, differentiating us from competitors and resonating more with consumers.

Innovate based on insights and feedback: Tre’s focus on innovation and development, guided by market research and customer feedback, led us to increased satisfaction, reduced churn, and improved profitability.

About the author

Jim Carlberg is an experienced marketing executive, who most recently held the role as Head of Marketing for telecom operator Tre/3.