Umicore: focus on the future


Umicore is a global materials technology group, operating on every continent. In the early 21st century, the perception of Union Minière (Umicore’s predecessor) proved an obstacle to the corporation’s further growth. The name evoked outdated associations and no longer matched the reality of this metallurgical and materials technology group. At the same time, it also prevented the corporation from attracting new investors, customers and employees.

Our solution

The management decided the time had come for a name change. Think BBDO developed a much-needed substantive and positional change for the future, as well as a positioning for the company as a leading, contemporary player. A corporation that is passionate about the quest for new applications of metals to improve our daily life. The positioning was translated into a new name, logo, and visual identity.

After an in-depth analysis, based on interviews with specialists from different countries, the mission of Union Minière/Umicore was redefined, starting from a distinct brand vision ‘Umicore creates materials for a better life’.

Think BBDO was tasked with repositioning the corporation on the market, based on a clear brand strategy. The target groups were investors, intermediaries and opinion leaders foremost, in addition to the Belgian public, global customers and all current and future employees.

The launch of the new name, logo, visual identity and corporate guidelines was done overnight. The next step was an external communication campaign (advertisements and an event) targeting the Belgian public and the international business and finance community. To garner support for the name change within the company (70 locations), we developed e-flashes, video conferences, the new in-house magazine ‘Link’ and a launch event for the employees in Belgium, the Netherlands and France.

Today Umicore is widely perceived as a strong and future-proof corporate brand, which clearly positions itself to all of its stakeholders. In early 2013, the Canadian research company Corporate Knights listed Umicore as most sustainable corporation of the year. Umicore was previously included in the innovative Green Index, which was launched by the WWF, the Living Planet Fund Management Company and Chevreux.

Branding, Change communication

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