Fon

From Revolutionary to Global High-Flier

 

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Fon

Madrid’s Fon started the free Wi-Fi revolution in 2006 with the first Fonera router. Today, it’s the world’s biggest Wi-Fi network. With a massive global presence spanning from Madrid to Tokyo, Fon gives users the freedom to be connected anywhere they go, avoiding costly roaming charges. As a pioneer and leader in its space, with millions of hotspots worldwide, Fon came to Interbrand aiming to raise its brand profile even further, particularly ahead of its expansion in key markets including the US.

As we looked deeper into the business, we found a brand that lacked a clear strategic definition, and a company at a juncture of growth and change. Fon needed to redefine itself as a solid and relevant innovator for the long-term, and distance itself from its “revolutionary brand” roots. Another clear need was to create a brand management strategy that would encompass its different co-branding settings.

A brand platform was defined to establish its strategic basis, making Fon’s brand simpler and clearer. The tone of voice was also redefined in order to communicate its value proposition simply and intelligently to its different audiences.

Inspired by the freedom and lightness of balloons as well as the internationally recognized Wi-Fi symbol, Fon’s new visual identity is expressed with clarity and simplicity. The new symbol is playful, contemporary, evokes a sense of movement and mobility, and directly communicates the core of its business: Wi-Fi.

While most of the elements of the original identity were redefined, Fon’s iconic orange color was retained as a key identifying element, but renewed through the use of more subtle tones. Additionally, an illustrative “ad hoc” style was created for the brand to communicate openness, friendliness, and approachability. The cartoonish black and white illustrations give the brand a human touch and create a neutral backdrop that makes the warm, buoyant, identifying symbol pop. Together, these elements differentiate the brand, distance it from more utilitarian competitor brands in the Wi-Fi sector, and give Fon an appeal that is closer to that of B2C global technological brands.

Finally, a clear co-branding main scenario was defined where the brand mostly operates in: captive portals. A unique and differentiating design was created, enabling Fon to breathe and be identified on its own even when jointly operating with telco partners in various markets and in different scenarios.

A more clearly differentiated and distinct visual identity and tone of voice is helping Fon as the brand enters key markets, including the US—where it’s rolling out in partnership with AT&T in late 2013 and beyond—and France, where it’s expanding its global network of about 12 million hotspots through a deal with SFR.