Research on brand awareness Belgian Railways

NMBS confirms its confidence in DataD and orders a repeat study

In the autumn of 2022, DataD investigated on behalf of the NMBS (Belgian Railways) the brand awareness of international trains that depart from Belgium, such as the Thalys, Eurostar and TGV INOUI. Because we were also a partner of the NMBS for this research in 2015, 2017 and 2021, comparison is possible. The final report of this survey helps NMBS to evaluate marketing efforts, formulate objectives for next year and develop campaigns. This will increase the efficiency of the campaigns.

Measure the ROI of your marketing efforts

NMBS is aware of the fact that brand awareness monitoring  is the basis of marketing. For the fourth time, they commissioned CityD-WES to conduct a brand awareness study of the international trains departing from Belgium. The CityD-WES team behind our DataD brand set up the research and processed the data. The following brands of trains were discussed: Thalys, Eurostar, TGV INOUI, IC Nederland, ICE and Nightjet.

DataD has extensive experience in conducting market research, population surveys and drawing up market strategies. Through qualitative and quantitative research we provide clear insights into customer behaviour, needs, willingness to pay and image. We translate these insights into action-oriented advice.

Top of mind versus spontaneous brand awareness

The research for the NMBS included both top of mind brand awareness (who is mentioned first?) and spontaneous brand awareness (which international trains can respondents name?). In addition, the guided brand awareness was also examined (e.g. Do you know ICE?).

We assessed important indicators such as knowledge of travel time, frequency, destinations and cost of the various international trains that depart from Belgium. Furthermore, the associations made with the brand name TGV INOUI were unraveled in detail through open questions.

The study also provides insight into the frequency of travel abroad, the preferred modes of transport of Belgians and the media channels through which consumers learn about the international trains.
Finally, a number of images from the campaign were tested in order to know to what extent they encouraged people to book a train ticket.

After our research, Thalys and Eurostar announced in January 2023 that they were merging. As from the end of 2023, the merged company's international trains will run under the name Eurostar, with a new logo. The name Thalys disappears. According to the management of the Eurostar Group, the choice to keep Eurostar as the brand name is due to the great name recognition of the brand among European consumers, but also outside Europe.

Our research indicates that among Belgians, spontaneous brand awareness of Thalys is slightly higher than that of Eurostar. The guided brand awareness in Belgium is equally high for both. The final report of this study helps NMBS to evaluate marketing efforts, formulate objectives for next year and develop campaigns. This will increase the efficiency of the campaigns.


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