Multilingual Business Communication

March 27, 2009

Railway stations get a new name: “het Station”

Filed under: Lana Robignon, marketing communication — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:34 pm

het Station1.3 million Euros. That’s the price tag to come up with a new brand name for the railway stations in Belgium. According to the SNCB holding, train stations have become important intersections and are of real social importance. The name, “het Station”, needs to emphasise their new strategy.

To launch this new kind of railway station, the holding decided to invest in an image analysis. The market research institute Think/BBDO researched how commuters and customers experience the railway adventure and how they see the ideal railway station. Apparently, customers found it important that a railway station is dynamic and efficient, a place were you can save time. A place were one can shop, relax and still make it home on time. The stations who already live up to these expectations can now show off 4 colourful flags and a sign with the brand name displayed at the entrance.

However, this initiative, despite of it’s good intentions, seems to provoke some negative reactions, especially amongst travellers and commuters. Since the announcement of a new railway time table in December 2008, more than 1100 complaints have reached the ombudsman.

Spending millions of Euros on an image campaign and adding more shops to railway stations, without improving the infrastructure and travel connections, seems to be a bit wasteful. On average, people want to spend as little as time possible when commuting. They do not wish to shop till they drop after a hard day’s work. They do not want to sit and wait because their train is delayed, once again. They want to travel in comfortable trains. Instead of investing in these trigger zones, it seems the holding has spent too much money on a name that anyone of us could have come up with. Hopefully, the transformation will be more drastic than just a name change and more shopping facilities.




  1. I totally agree with you, Lana. I think the best publicity the SNCB could have, is trains – with large enough capacity – running on time. Honestly, I don’t get why over 1 million euros have to be spent to say the railway station is ‘the’ railway station. We don’t really have a choice, do we?

    Comment by Maud Bonte — March 28, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  2. I couldn’t agree more: why spend 1,3 million euro on a logo? I myself travel by train regularly and I can tell: trains are often very old and uncomfortable, at peak hours they are overcrowded, there are many delays and connections with buses are far from ideal. The NMBS had better solve these problems first. Furthermore, I don’t agree with the NMBS’ idea to turn stations into mini-airports. Commuters don’t have time to shop or have a drink on their way back and to work. Give them comfortable trains and decent connections, and a lot of stress will disappear at once.

    Comment by Hannelore Blomme — April 4, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  3. You’re absolutely right on this one! Although the colours are very nice, I think that the Belgian railways have other priorities, or at least, they should have. I think that it would have been better for them to enhance their service and then, in a last phase, announce the new name and logo, just like the icing on a cake is put on last. I am convinced that they would have received a lot less comment.

    Lien Van den Broeck

    Comment by meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie — April 5, 2009 @ 9:54 am

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