Karlien Kelgtermans – Telenet

Karlien Kelgtermans – Telenet

Karlien Kelgtermans is Communication Manager at Telenet, a leading Belgian provider of television, internet, and telephone services. She joined the company 3,5 years ago, first starting for the brand BASE which Telenet acquired 5 years ago. Since May 2020 she has been working at Telenet Business and is responsible for marketing campaigns, media, concepts, managing consumer research and monitoring brand performance for the B2B market.

Main KPIs for growth

Telenet focuses on both the traditional KPIs, as well as the proposition they introduced last year. Karlien: “We look at the classic elements such as top of mind awareness and spontaneous awareness, but last year we made the decision to position ourselves as the ‘human brand’. This has been a differentiation as opposed to other parties, where people wouldn’t find the right personal service that a lot of business clients seek. It’s an important KPI for us to monitor whether we are moving in the right direction and are taking the right initiatives to get there. It’s something we are really focusing on. For instance, not being referred from one person to the next, but having a dedicated person helping you find the right solution, with 24/7 technical support. We want to bring the human brand to life and test those KPIs to see whether we are being perceived as such.”

The role of creative

“When we launched our new positioning, we let real entrepreneurs share their story,” Karlien continues. “It’s something we want to continuously bring forward. To inspire others and share client stories which we can use on our website and push through content marketing. Another example is when we did a campaign where we showed someone who really works in our customer service department. Those are our people who truly reflect that personal service. The human brand is an authentic story, which is something I really relate to. With our creatives, we always try to find that human touch.”

Another important element in Telenet’s creatives is that they are credible. “You need to find the right balance between sharing a story and advertising your brand. You don’t want it to be forced or too commercial. Of course, we have our sales objectives and we have campaigns sharing tactical messages and prices. And entrepreneurs are always looking for new tools to use. Recently, we developed a new promotion where we shared a deal for 3 devices for half price. But how does that translate to the human brand? On the one hand, you have your promotions, but you also want to keep building your brand. That’s a challenge. In our most recent campaign, we had 2 separate radio commercials, one advertising our Klik solution, and one sharing our brand message that technology can be human. Our products and solutions prove why we are the human brand. With Klik we offer 24/7 personal service, showing that human aspect. It’s one thing to just say you are the human brand, but your solutions should provide the evidence. I think we solved that puzzle really well.”

“When agencies are involved from the very start in determining the brand’s direction, it can only lead to the best creatives.”

Reflected in the process

Because Telenet’s brand promise revolves around putting people first, the human side of things is also reflected in their creative process. Karlien: “We involve our agencies from the very start. With big campaigns we invite them over in the research phase, so they can listen in on focus groups and really hear what’s engaging people at that time. I believe that when agencies are involved from the very start in determining the brand’s direction, it can only lead to the development of the best creatives.” Karlien shares that when agencies propose a concept, they should include all touchpoints straight away: “We want to know how one message translates to different media from the start. How will it come across on digital, radio? We want to have the full picture. Next to that, a lot of our sales is driven by seasonality. Back to school campaigns, end of year. Moments in the year where people buy presents or need devices. But of course, we all do it. It’s a challenge to stand out in these times when all providers are sharing their story in an end of year campaign.”

The role of research in Telenet’s creative development has increased over the last year. Karlien explains: “The Telenet Group has gone through a re-organisation and we introduced an agile way of working. One of the reasons is that we wanted to focus more on the client, and we wanted to react faster and more agile on new developments in the market. This way, you can test and pretest a lot more. In the last year there has been a lot of pretesting. Sometimes we do something on a small-scale and question 200 people over the weekend, whilst other times we use focus groups. We test whether we are on the right track, or whether we need to make some adjustments. Our agile way of working has really increased the importance of research within the organisation.”

Advertising in current times

Karlien states that whatever you communicate, it needs to fit your brand, both B2B and B2C. With corona, things have obviously changed: “Of course, we are all affected by the corona crisis. But people with their own businesses, restaurants, in the events industry, it has been a tough time. I think that right now it is important we show our support. Showing emotion, understanding and admiration in our creatives. An example where we showed our support is our ‘digital acceleration’ tool. We offered entrepreneurs free advice to digitally accelerate their company. A free 2-hour session with a digital expert where they could get advice and ask questions. Alongside that, we launched a campaign in June focused on personal service. Right now, it’s extremely valuable to be able to call someone if you have any problems. When your internet is down, it’s a great advantage to have someone there to fix it, 24/7.”

The right balance

One of the biggest challenges according to Karlien is having a relevant message. “You need to be relevant, but your concept also needs to be fun. It’s difficult to not get carried away with the concept and stray from what consumers relate to. It’s a personal challenge for me, and finding that balance is difficult. You need to be different, but you also need to make sure it resonates among those people you want to reach. Finding that balance is a continuous journey.”