Vidéotron’s infinite power

From small cable company to 360-degree telecommunications powerhouse, Vidéotron has become a force to be reckoned with in Quebec

If you live in Quebec, no doubt you’re familiar with the Vidéotron brand, and you’re probably a customer. The telecommunications company, which has been around since 1964 when it launched a cable broadcast network with 66 subscribers in Montreal-North and Laval, boasts 1.8 million cable TV subscribers and 1.27 million internet subscribers, and has experienced seven consecutive years of growth. Its rebranding in 2009 with its agency Sid Lee, as well as the creation of a cutting-edge flagship store in Montreal, has given the company the ammo it needed to enter the mobile sphere, with major success.
Going head-to-head with a big competitor is never easy, and when your main competition is a behemoth like Bell Canada, you’d better bring your A-game. One year ago, Vidéotron became the first major Canadian cable company to launch its own cellphone network in 25 years. Fast-forward 12 months and Vidéotron has seen a 75% increase in revenue-generating units, with more than 210,000 mobile customers so far, adding more than 3,500 per week.
It’s no small feat, but Vidéotron has been working towards this goal for a while now. Its 2009 rebranding brought all of its services under one identity and platform – “The Infinite Power.” Previously, it used the line “The power of cable” in communications, but wanted to bring all of its services (including cable, internet and mobile) under one umbrella, according to Claude Foisy, VP brand management, Vidéotron.
“The discussion we had with the agency was to move from an advertising platform to a communication platform,” he says. “Prior to that, each service has its own way of talking to the consumer, it was very product-driven.”
Characterized by bold black and yellow visuals, as well as the image of a cube and a changeable tagline that starts with “The power to…”, the idea was to “give the power to the customer.”
“The trick is to make sure you have a toolbox that works for every mandate or category but is wide enough to keep [an element of] surprise and people’s attention,” says Francois Lacoursière, EVP, senior partner at Sid Lee.
When Vidéotron launched its mobile offering, it did so under this new identity with a media blitz that encompassed every major outlet – from TV and print to online and social media.
In September 2010, media teased with the tagline “The end of time is near” (or “La fin du temps est proche”) and included TV spots with a presidential-type speaking about the end of time. Later, its “Talk until infinity” plan was revealed, offering consumers unlimited plans. What is perhaps more impressive than its growth record is the fact that the company, which was acquired by Quebecor in 2000, has a 97% customer satisfaction rate (99% for subscribers with three or more products).
To illustrate this focus on customer satisfaction, its  recent summer campaign enlisted funnymen Sugar Sammy for the English television spots and André-Philippe Gagnon for the French. They made prank calls to client services at Vidéotron, to see how the employees would react.
It was an example of Vidéotron “walking the talk” when it comes to its services, and its willingness to go outside its comfort zone, explains Lacoursière. “All the promises that we were making in the ads a few months prior, we were testing it. It takes balls.”
Another ballsy move by Vidéotron was investing in a Montreal flagship store that looks like a technological utopia. Designed by Sid Lee Architecture with Régis Côté & Associates (with brand identity and design by Sid Lee) and tech and installation by Solotech, the store opened last fall and boasts a first-of-its-kind LED-animated staircase, soundproof booths with giant HD screens and interactive touch-screen countertops.
“It’s really a [stake] in the ground in terms of technology and giving access to people on the street,” says Foisy, noting that aspects of the flagship that can work on a smaller scale are being incorporated into other retail locations.
As Vidéotron continues to expand (it launched in the Ottawa-Gatineau region in the spring), Lacoursière says when it comes to why it deserves a Brand of the Year title, “It’s being true to what they are and what their strengths are, and making sure that when they came out with the newly revised branding, they were internally ready to deliver the promise. It’s not [just] a campaign, it’s good, true brand management.”

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