Breaking the wall between brand and business

Nice to get some support for our core principle of "brand-led business" in the latest edition of Market Leader. Neil Dawson's piece on "brand response" suggests all communication should do two jobs at the same time: build the brand and build the business. Hoo-bloody-ray! Since starting the brandgym in 2001 we've been campaiging to break down the wall between "brand" on the one hand and business building on the other. All branding should helps you "SMS" (sell more stuff).

Neil uses hard data from the IPA advertising data base. In the past communication was split between "brand image" work and "direct response" work, more direct marketing. However, the way forward, he suggests, is "brand response" communication that builds the business and the brand. These campaigns made up 37% of the case studies in the IPA data base in the 00's, versus only 12% in the 90's and 2% in the 80's. Here are three great examples of effective brand response communication he uses.

1. Total integration – O2

O2 is a brand I've posted on several times, as a great example of creating an impactful and consistently executed brand world. Neil brings some new data to the table, stating that 80% of O2's investment was on sales-driving activity. At the same time, these campaigns did a great job of creating a brand with the strongest brand image across the range of key image attributes. Part of this success was focusing not on bland image advertising, but rather on promoting service propositions such as Bolt-Ons and Pay & Go in an integrated, coherent fashion. And boy did it work. Neil quotes a short-term payback of 6 to 1. In other words, £6 of extra revenue for every £1 of advertising. That's what I call SMS 🙂

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2. Brand idea – Sainsbury's

I like the second example, Sainsbury's "Try something new today" (TSNT) campaign, as its about a big brand idea, not just a consistent brand image. The TSNT campaign, starring young cheery chappy chef Jamie Oliver, was based on SMS principles. Sainsbury's saw that getting each shopper to spend only £1 more per trip could generate £2.5 billion in extra sales. TSNT was designed to "interupt ingrained shopper baheviour and drive incremental purchase", says Neil. The idea was driven through not only advertising, but also store design, merchandising and promotion of powerful propositions, such as "Feed Your Family for a Fiver" and the "Taste the Difference" premium range.

Again, Neil has some killer data. The total effects of the campaign were £1.9billion in incremental sales. And somehow he has done some clever modelling to show that the TSNT idea itself contributed £550million of this.

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3. Creating a cult – 118 118

Neil's final example is 118 118, the directory enquiry service (where you call to get a phone number). Originally there was only one number, 192, owned by BT. When the market was deregulated, a load of different services with different numbers came out. The success of 118 118 actually started with the product sausage, which in this case was the number itself. The brand owners boldy used £2million of their marketing budget to get this highly memorable number. They also started advertising several months before the number went live to build awareness and pent-up demand.

The next bit of genius was creating two moustached runners, each wearing the number 118 on their retro running vests. This incredibly powerful brand property created stand-out, memorability and invaluable buzz. And talk about brand response: 17 million calls were driven. The runners got incredible PR coverage, being used by the press whenever they tallked about deregulation. The campaign helped 118 118 become the brand leader with a 44% share, versus 34% for BT who before had a monopoly on the market.

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In conclusion, we now have some powerful data to back up our belief that building the brand and building the business are one job, not two. In the words of Larry Light, ex-CMO of McDonald's, "all marketing should be sales promotion. If not, why the hell are you doing it?!"