France Telecom has officially dropped its original moniker and taken up the name of Orange, which has served as its brand across most commercial activities for several years.
The change came into effect at the start of this week, having won the approval of the operator’s shareholders in May.
In a statement, the company said that all its products and services in more than 30 countries will henceforth be sold under the Orange brand name, with all commercial, internal and corporate communication grouped under a single brand identity.
“Most of the Group’s employees expected the company name to be aligned with its identity, which is now more than ever based on a collective culture of public service, expansion and a social partnership,” said Stephane Richard, the chief executive of Orange (Paris, France).
“We want the Orange brand to convey a sense of modernity, energy, innovation, trust and focus on the future and on customers,” he said.
The operator is to launch a corporate communications campaign to support the name change, highlighting the importance of digital technology to modern-day lifestyles.
Developed by the Publicis Group, the campaign will be used in all the countries in which Orange operates, including Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and will be rolled out on French television this month.
Orange will be hoping that rebranding activities take attention away from the negative publicity surrounding Richard, who was recently charged with fraud.
The charges relate to alleged offences while Richard worked at the French finance ministry five years ago.
While Orange’s board recently backed Richard, it appointed Bernard Dufau, an independent board member, to monitor the situation, suggesting there was some nervousness about the potential impact of the case on Orange’s reputation.
No doubt, Orange will also use the rebranding in its battle against Iliad (Paris, France), the upstart that has wreaked havoc since entering France’s mobile phone market in early 2012.
For the three months ending March, Orange reported a 4.1% drop in revenues, to €10.28 billion ($13.41 billion), with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization falling by 6.6%, to €3.12 billion.
Although the operator blamed regulatory cuts to mobile termination rates and similar charges for much of the decline, it also cited the tough competitive environment in France, where all the incumbents have been forced to slash prices following Iliad’s arrival.