Category Archives: Case Studies

Watford Workshop featured on Radio Verulam’s The Business

Watford Workshop logo

Over the last few months I’ve been doing some volunteering for Watford Workshop, helping them with some B2B Marketing activity.

The charity helps disabled and disadvantaged people to develop work skills and allows them have greater independence, become more integrated into the community and where possible move them onto mainstream employment.

To achieve this, Watford Workshop delivers comprehensive, high quality and competitively priced services to its commercial customers from their workshop on Century Retail Park.

The broader issue of disability in the workplace was covered by Radio Verulam’s Trevor Merriden in a recent episode of The Business. The programme features the work of the charity along with interviews with some of the staff, which you can hear again below:

If you would like to find out more about the types of services offered, take a look at www.watfordworkshop.co.uk or drop me a line.

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Andrex Scrunch or Fold – has FMCG creativity found a new bottom?

Warning: this post contains contextually relevant toilet humour gags the author was unable to resist.

One of my first bosses in B2B Marketing told me why she had chosen to pursue a career in B2B as opposed to the (at the time) more glamorous world of FMCG Marketing “I didn’t find the idea of marketing nappies or tampax that challenging or interesting”.

Her words have stuck with me since and I was reflecting on this when I saw the recent Andrex campaign which asked the nation whether they “scrunch or fold” when using their market-leading product:

Andrex pack

Admittedly, there’s only so much you can do with loo roll (literally and creatively) – especially one that’s been market leader since 1961 according to the Superbrands Annual 2012. But there’s a reason for that. I may be an old-fashioned prude, but behind closed doors up and down the country, how we wipe our backside is our business.

Yet I couldn’t resist taking a peek at the results:

Andrex results

A staggering 14,728 people voted, although it is not clear how many others spoiled their paper.

Perhaps I’m missing the point and all will be revealed in a forthcoming awards submission for Andrex which will show results that during the campaign, the PCEI rose by 243% (Paper:Cheek Engagement Index – a standard measure across the industry).

Or maybe it was a test marketing exercise to feed into the new product development process? Was Andrex about to launch “pre scrunched” Andrex, one wonders, and have these landslide results flushed that idea down the pan.

I know it’s not possible to stick to the classic “soft, strong and very very long” for every campaign, but loo roll is loo roll. Use the full marketing mix to innovate and tell me about the features that make Andrex superior to the competition. I don’t need selling on the ‘benefits’ and certainly don’t want to segment myself as a ‘scruncher’ or ‘folder’ as some sort of lifestyle statement with deep emotional engagement to the brand!

All of this reinforces that, like my boss all those years ago, I am very, very happy to have spent the last 15 years as a B2B Marketer.

But how about you? Do you love or loathe this campaign? Does it make you proud to be a B2B or FMCG marketer? I’d love to hear your thoughts (about this campaign, not your toilet preferences please).

Creativity alive and well in print advertising – Blackberry

It’s rare that press advertising wows me with its creativity these days, but Blackberry’s ad in today’s Daily Telegraph really impressed me.

Promoting the ‘Time Shift’ functionality of the new Z10, the ad appears on the face of it to be a standard full-page press ad…

Blackberry press ad for Z10

…until it becomes clear that there is a half page covering a second part of the 1.5 page spread, which reveals as below:

Blackberry press ad for Z10

There’s no doubt that Blackberry have a huge task ahead of them to catch up with the likes of Apple and Samsung when it comes to smartphone market share, but with innovative ways of promoting innovative features such as this, I wouldn’t write them off just yet.

Nice work.

Diamond Jubilee – a Right Royal Rebrand?

As much of the nation struggled to get back into the swing of working life on Wednesday, I couldn’t help reflect on a weekend during which I felt the ‘rebrand’ of Britain’s Royal Family was complete.

I’ve never considered myself to be a royalist, but having seen the transformation of a nation’s mood (OK, helped by 2 extra days off for most of us) over the weekend I wondered whether we were witnessing the fruits of a ‘strategic review’ of their brand positioning? If it was, here’s how I saw it hang together:

1) Showcase event for ‘Brand Britain’: There’s no doubt that there will have been a positive and material impact on ‘Brand Britain’ as a result of these celebrations and not just from the millions watching on TV around the world. The streets, riverbanks and parks of London came alive in a celebration of positivity. Bring on the Olympics!

2) Commitment to deeper ‘customer engagement’: We appeared to witness a statement of intent to make the Royal Family more visible, accessible and open. The schedule of events Queen Elizabeth II attended over the weekend would make the most voracious networker shudder. The fact that the celebratory tour continues across the country allows those outside of London to experience a bit of Jubilee Fever at first hand.

3) Injection of a renewed sense of fun: Throughout the weekend’s activities, all the members of the Royal Family genuinely appeared to be having fun, even during the sideways torrential rain in the freezing cold for the Thames River Pageant.

The Royal Family has attracted more than its share of controversy over the years, so hopefully these will be the last fireworks coming from Buckingham Palace until the next celebration:

What do you think? Has your perception of the Royal Family ‘brand’ changed following recent events? What would you do differently if you were their brand agency?

What can marketers learn from Tom Frankenburg?

By now you’ve probably heard all about Tom Frankenburg, a guy from Nottingham (my home town) who is giving away a £1,000 holiday for 2 to Malta after splitting up from his girlfriend and finding it difficult to sell. Tom tells the story much better here…

Over the last 24 hours, the views on YouTube have doubled to about 54K views and I can only see this going through the roof over the weekend as the word spreads.

Coverage from the BBC, Huffington Post, Metro (who put it under their ‘weird’ section – a sad reflection on how acts of kindness are viewed IMO) and many others seem set to make this a story that keeps on running.

So what can marketers learn from Tom’s story?

  • Focus on a creating a message that is so remarkable you cannot help but share it
  • Deliver that message creatively yet authentically – Tom’s storybook approach, combined with nice editing makes this video fun yet believable
  • Leave a legacy- I hope Tom’s new phrase catches on and eagerly await the launch of the #makelifeyourbitch fashion range, with a percentage of profits for good causes…just a thought…

Nice one, Tom.

Social Media Awards Prediction: O2 Santa

It’s great to end the year with a brilliant social media campaign courtesy of the guys at O2 and Hope & Glory.

I first saw this via a tweet from @mashbusiness:

For those of you not familiar with the campaign, I’ll let the O2 Santa explain here:

It looks like almost 1,000 videos were personalised within the week-long campaign, and I can’t wait to see the stats on the total number of views, shares and retweets this created.

Having had my own personalised video recorded to convince my childhood best friend that Santa really does exist, I can say that this was an excellent piece of work, brilliantly executed:

Within 24 hours I had received a tweet telling me that my video was ready for viewing.

Personalisation + Social interaction + Seasonal appeal= [surely] award-winning campaign.

Well done to all involved.

Sage: Trade Show Marketing how it should be done

I was at the Business Start-Up Show recently, a trade show with seminars and over 300 exhibitors targeting the small and start-up business market. I stopped by a number of stands that day, and although I was there as a ‘punter’, I couldn’t help but keep putting my B2B Marketing hat back on to critique their performance.

One business that stood out as the most impressive that day has to be Sage. As you’ll see below, from a delegate perspective they were excellent, but as a B2B Marketer myself, you could tell they had a clear and structured plan for engaging with their audience before, during and after the show:

Before:

I had pre-registered for the Business Planning Workshop that Sage were running as part of the extensive seminar programme. I was booked onto the 10.30am slot, on the first day of the show.

I got to Earls Court early, but had to take a phone call that I didn’t want to take in a queue of people, so was only able to join the substantial queue at 09.45, with doors opening at 10.00.

By about 10.15 it became clear that the queue wasn’t moving (except in length) and I was hoping that someone inside was listening when I tweeted:

Clearly, the marketing team at Sage were geared up for engaging with customers and prospects, and tweeted back, which started a conversation with the brand before I had even got into the building.

Fortunately, soon after, common sense prevailed and the organisers started letting pre-registered delegates through en masse without signing-in. I managed to get through to the Sage stand where I was met with a friendly smile and a member of staff that personally escorted me to the Business Planning Workshop, which was about to commence.

During:

The workshop was very useful, and with free planning software as a giveaway, I definitely wanted to find out more about what Sage offered as I had traditionally associated them with accounting software.

Their exhibition space was well laid out, open and inviting. There were well signposted zones for information on various product types, and I found the people friendly, knowledgeable and engaging.

Sage stand at Business Start Up 2011, Earls CourtSage stand at Business Start Up 2011, Earls Court (2)I received a demo on Sage Act! from a member of staff who was extremely patient as he ran through the demo and answered my questions.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world to push for a sale, after a 40 minute demo, but it felt to me like the strategy for the day was engagement and lead generation. I happily gave my contact details and agreed to receive a follow-up.

After visiting maybe a dozen or so other stands (and walking past all others), most appeared to lack any kind of clear strategy.

So impressed was I with my Sage experience, that on the way out, I tweeted the following, which was amplified across the business show audience by 6 retweets:

After:

A day or two later, I got a follow-up email from someone introducing themselves as my account manager, with their contact details should I have any other questions.

A couple of weeks on, I received the attached follow-up email to invite me to a webinar, the creative linking back to the exhibition and signposting a discount offer unique to attendees of the show.

Screen grab of Sage email follow-up, including show-specific discount offer

I signed up for the webinar, and had another demo today. For me, the picture is complete and I now have all the information I need and will be buying Sage Act! at some point soon.

Get a life! Why are you reviewing a trade show?!

All too often in my experience, exhibitions are criticised as a waste of money, time or both. From what I saw on the day, I’m sure for many exhibitors this was true.

However, as Sage have shown, the key to successful exhibition marketing is to have a strategy for engaging with your customers and prospects Before, During and After the show, exhibition or event.

Well done Sage, and thanks for supplying the photos of the exhibition stand and agreeing for their use in this post.

What do you think? Are you in sales or marketing and have any trade show marketing tips to share? How does your business maximise the return on investment from trade shows? I’d love to hear your thoughts.