Cell C has a new brand colour - and it may look familiar to a global mobile giant

Business Insider SA
The currently logo of French multinational Orange and Cell C's new logo.
  • Cell C has just refreshed its branding with a new typeface and a new colour.
  • But its new brand colour clashes with French mobile giant Orange, which is a big player in the African market.
  • This might limit Cell C’s expansion to other African countries in the future, or create the need for a second brand. 

Cell C has launched a revamped corporate identity, including a new corporate colour and a new type font. 

Cell C’s new orange branding is very close to the corporate colour of telecommunications giant Orange - which is a dominant player in the African market - and has nearly 256 million customers worldwide. Orange, headquartered in France, operates in more 28 countries, including Botswana, Egypt and the Ivory Coast. 

Cell C’s new colour choice is very interesting given that Orange has a registered trademark for its orange, says Jeremy Sampson, executive director at Brand Finance Africa. This might limit Cell C’s expansion to other African countries in the future, or create the need for a second brand outside of SA.  

The countries Orange operate in (Wikipedia)

Karen Haller, a UK-based business colour and branding expert, who did work for Orange Mobile, believes companies who use orange as their corporate colour are seen as "fun, playful and enjoying social interaction." Orange can also represent physical comfort, like food and warmth. The financial institution ING also uses orange in its branding, but contrasts the playfulness of the orange with the more "logical" blue.

Sampson believes Cell C’s move away from its use of black in its branding was because it “gets depressing and is very conservative.” 

He says companies, depending on what sector they are in, need to "refresh" their brands every five to ten years. 

“In South Africa, half its population is under the age of 24. [You] can't afford to look old and frumpy, behind the curve, especially in this sector.” 

Cell C's old logo launched in 2010 and its new logo.

Successful rebrands are measured whether there are market share and profitability increases, Sampson says. 

“A rebranding is usually a positive opportunity to say: 'Hey, look at me', reposition for the future and get an edge on the competition.’ ”

READ: The 10 most valuable brands in SA right now

Branding expert Andy Rice says the cost of Cell C’s rebranding exercise, which includes brick and mortar stores and advertising material, could run into the hundreds of millions. 

“It is difficult to say, but when Vodacom changed their colours in 2011, anecdotally the cost was estimated at R200 million just for the physical rebranding. It is an expensive exercise.”