brand agency

One of the core principles underlying an effective brand strategy is to understand and align the company’s offering with customers’ needs and preferences. Understanding the discrepancies between what the brand claims it stands for and what customers believe, will help to construct a brand that is more accurately in tune with the audience. Brand research will help you gain deeper insight into your customers which can form the basis of your brand strategy.  

Research can also assist in consolidating views from internal stakeholders pre or post a merger or acquisition. The insights can deliver a richer understanding of the strategy behind creating a new brand name. The goal of research is to gain clarity on how brand performance and brand distinction is perceived by external and internal audiences. Ultimately, we want to uncover the meaning of the brand to those who interact with it in a 360-degree approach. 

Reducing the risks associated with rebranding after a merger or acquisition.

Insights from brand research can help organisations mitigate risk when it comes to rebranding. A rebrand represents considerable investment from a financial and time perspective, not to mention the risk of losing customers who were loyal to your existing brand.  This factor is particularly pertinent when going from a well-known established brand to an unknown new brand. This was the case for one of our past clients - mycar.

The strategic acquisition that made way for a strong new brand in a competitive market.

Continental Automotive Group is a world leader in tyre production. Founded in 1871, Continental is a multinational manufacturer of performance-oriented tyres. The organisation was focused on growth, and as part of that growth strategy, had identified Australia as a growth market. This resulted in the acquisition of Kmart Tyre & Auto Services – one of the largest tyre and auto service chains in Australia, which at the time had 258 branches and more than 1,200 employees.

With the existing brand name linked back to the original owners (Kmart, a brand owned by parent company Wesfarmers), the new owner needed to rebrand. They needed to make a strategic decision on what brand was required to bring this new, heavily service-oriented arm of their business to market.

Making a strategic decision such as this, in a market relatively unfamiliar to the new parent company, needed to be underpinned by research. For Continental Automotive Group, the research was the key to reducing risk by investigating how to retain existing customers and attract new customers in the Australian market.

BrandMatters were engaged to conduct brand research in order to test the market response to the new brand, mycar. The objective was to find a brand the internal team would feel confident with, a name that would drive their business forward and demonstrate that the brand’s strategic direction was aligned to the wants and needs of their customers.

Utilising both qualitative and quantitative research methods, BrandMatters were able to build a deep understanding of what the market valued about the current brand as well as test the identity of the new brand with existing customers.

Brand research enabled the Continental Automotive Group to understand: 

  • Their existing audience – what they valued about the current service/brand/offering.
  • The market – what were the needs of the market.
  • The internal culture – with such a significant workforce within the branch network, it was important to understand what was valued by the employees and stakeholders of the acquired business, and how they should best retain a positive culture through the acquisition and rebrand process.

BrandMatters were able to utilise the information that already existed inside the business. Kmart Tyre and Auto were already invested in the value of brand research and had engaged in brand tracking. Interrogating this information along with discussions with the internal team paved the road to formalising the right positioning for the new brand name - mycar.

Three key forms of brand research were used in this project:

  • Desk research

In this case, quality brand tracking research and competitor analysis was available and proved useful in unpacking insights into existing customer sentiment for the market segment. BrandMatters were able to clearly articulate the new brand positioning through interrogating this existing research.

  • Qualitative research

Internal discussions with key stakeholders were designed to facilitate an understanding of brand perceptions and strategic direction. A number of directions for the new brand were explored and one particular identity resonated strongly with the group.

  • Quantitative research

The quantitative research mined the sentiment of the general population interested in purchasing tyres and car servicing, utilising the existing positioning to help understand the potential of the new brand name. Given the strong network and customer base already established for the Kmart Tyre and Auto brand, it was vital that the new brand did not jeopardise this equity. In this case the quantitative research overwhelmingly supported the new brand direction.

Along the way, the research uncovered some key opportunities for the new brand including a greater focus on digital to make the customer experience more personalised and service seamless.

The new brand has been out in the marketplace for just over 2 years now, and mycar as a brand has been accepted and embraced by the team and consumers. To read more about the mycar brand project – see our case study or read a recent article by CMO magazine.

As mycar continues to grow across Australia, they’ve retained their focus on staying true to their brand positioning, delivering on customer needs above all else and importantly building brand trust along the way.

At BrandMatters, we believe a great brand is based on the right balance of strategic insight and intrinsic design. We love creating new brands for our clients, especially when they are born from insight and are embraced whole-heartedly by the entire team.

If your organisation has recently acquired a new brand, we highly recommend brand research as a tool to mitigate the risk of transitioning brands through the acquisition process. Contact us to discuss your unique situation. 

For many businesses, the Covid crisis has necessitated a reduction in human resources across the board: client facing, back office, and marketing. In times of economic stress or downturn, marketing is frequently a function that is viewed as an easy downscale, either to a skeleton team or completely, as focus turns swiftly to directly generating revenue.

Yet in our post-Covid world, it will be the generation of demand that will drive the generation of revenue. Supply chains have evolved and restructured. Customer sentiment and priorities – both B2B and B2C – has swiftly shifted. Competitors will be more opportune and potentially aggressive in securing market share, particularly if the market has shrunk.

To capture their share of a possible smaller market, organisations will need to actively review their brand strategy and the key touchpoints with which they engage their customers: honing lead-nurture acquisition strategies, sharpening content creation, creating targeted campaigns, ensuring social, digital, SEO/SEM, advertising and media are all providing clear ROI.

These seismic market shifts and heightened need to go-to-market effectively sit in stark contrast to the reality: how to generate demand when the marketing resource has either been heavily reduced or excised? Rehiring full-time resources may not be a tenable proposition without the revenue stream to support it, matched with high recruitment costs often at 20% of salary.

Organisations are looking for an effective but right-sized solution.

BrandMatters’ BM Inside

For several years, BrandMatters has been assisting clients in taking the pressure off their marketing functions and short-term resource gaps by placing our marketing professionals on-site to drive forward marketing activities and brand initiatives. BM Inside places a BrandMatters marketer inside a business for as many days per week as needed, for as long as needed. Two days per week for three months, five days a week for 6 months or any other appropriate scaling, BM Inside matches the requirement of the business. Best of all the service is completely flexible and can be dialled up or down in line with changing requirements.

BrandMatters assigns an appropriate marketer according to the skill level that the organisation requires, without the additional expense of recruitment costs. Placed on-site quickly, the marketer becomes a seamless part of the client’s team with access back to BrandMatters’ deep brand and marketing expertise. The resource’s briefing, performance management and professional development is managed by the BrandMatters team, providing accountability throughout. In addition, BrandMatters maintains oversight of the ongoing execution of client deliverables and quality control, ensuring the service is completely seamless.
BM Inside creates immediate marketing momentum. BrandMatters’ knowledge of the client’s business combined with the practical experience and know-how of the marketer means the typical three-month ramp-up time of a new employee is eliminated.

BM Inside allows small businesses to kick start their marketing in a right-sized, cost-effective way, so they can start to generate returns before committing to a full-time employee. For medium sized businesses, BM Inside brings an additional and senior marketing resource that can develop strategic marketing plans and coach and mentor junior marketers.

BM Inside can help businesses kick start demand generation in our post-Covid world. With BM Inside in place, business owners can be assured the marketing function will be match-fit for our new normal.

Could BM Inside support your business as an on-site marketing resource? Learn more about BM Inside here or contact us to find out.

“As a small business without the marketing expertise or the time to drive it, it’s very hard to proactively focus on the promotion of our own business.”

 

Not every business has a marketing function.

Whilst the big players in business may have marketing teams spread across the country, the reality for many organisations is vastly different. Many organisations, both small and medium-sized, do not have a marketing function at all, reliant upon incorporating those responsibilities within the BAU of another or adjacent role such as sales or events. For those that have small or part-time marketing functions, the ability to execute programs or initiatives over and above regular BAU marketing, such as a brand refresh or launch, places additional pressure on an already busy resource.

“As the Managing Director, I am often pulled in many directions and need to wear many hats within our business. Marketing was one of those hats.”

 

How Covid-19 has changed the game

Our current health and economic crisis has only exacerbated this pressure, with the questions being asked “What will the new normal look like?”, “How can we compete in a new environment?” and “What marketing activity will drive awareness and differentiation when everyone else is doing the same?”

As we emerge from the current crisis these questions will become even more pointed and pertinent, and Chief Executives, Managing Directors and Boards will be looking to their marketing functions to demonstrate clear ROI on future marketing spend.

Organisations and marketing teams will be seeking solutions that address kickstarting or restarting their market positions and profiles, being alert and sensitive to the evolving landscape of the post-Covid-19 business environment.

 

How BrandMatters supports organisations under resource pressure

For several years, BrandMatters has been assisting clients in taking the pressure off their marketing functions and short-term resource gaps by placing our marketing professionals on-site to drive forward marketing activities and brand initiatives. BM Inside is a dedicated resource who is not only an experienced marketer, but also comes supported by, and equipped with, the deep strategic knowledge and insights from the BrandMatters’ team.

We have filled short-term resource gaps, such as maternity leave, have led and deployed full national brand refreshes where the marketing team did not have the capacity to do so, have taken businesses with minimum market profile and driven awareness and consideration. Across the development of brand strategy, education of internal audiences, creation of marketing plans and calendars, we have assisted our clients in delivering clear and beneficial ROI against their marketing spend.

“Having BM Inside in-house for three months gave me the peace of mind that things were getting done.”

 

How branding will support businesses in the new world

The effects of our current crisis are only becoming apparent. But what we do know is that organisations will need to develop nimble mindsets. The old ways of working will no longer be tenable. Marketing will also evolve, but for many organisations asking the big questions of a changed future, marketing may not be top of mind, particularly where little or no resource has been able to be allocated pre the crisis.

At BrandMatters we firmly believe that differentiated branding and smart market positioning will be critical in driving survival in the new marketplace, regardless of whether the audience is B2B or B2C. Yet with even more downward pressure on resources, organisations will be looking to rely on trusted and proven partners.

“We’re now moving forward with renewed confidence in our new brand and our position in the market.”

Looking to the evolving future, organisations have the opportunity right now to evaluate how they have previously deployed marketing, and what marketing strategies are needed. For those that are looking for support to drive marketing forward in the new world, BrandMatters’ BM Inside has proven a trusted and accountable resource.

Could BM Inside support your business as an on-site marketing resource? Learn more about BM Inside here or contact us to find out.

Wednesday, 05 June 2019 11:42

Traditionally, large organisations have gravitated to agency partners who match them in size and stature. In recent years, the need for a global presence and mass capabilities offered by the traditional full-service agency model has dissipated and there has been a trend for a more tailored approach - where organisations are seeking agencies who understand their niche or industry.

BrandMatters specialises in B2B brand research and brand strategy. In particular, we have worked with many organisations in the financial services and professional services industries.

The team of senior marketers at BrandMatters have all come from client-side brand and strategic marketing roles. Over the years, specialising has enabled the team to develop deep expertise in their specific discipline and become subject matter experts in specific industries and B2B branding. They have an understanding of the unique challenges faced by these organisations.

BrandMatters’ portfolio of clients showcases over 16 years of experience dealing with complex brand architecture challenges, huge changes in market landscapes and the challenge of communicating a brand’s purpose both internally and externally. 

For Paul Nelson, BrandMatters’ Managing Director, it is clear that research is the key to brand strategy for B2B organisations. The role of brand in B2B organisations has often been seen as secondary. Over the years, B2B branding has evolved and has become more of a driving force behind organisational strategy and businesses providing value over and above their core product or service offering. Brand can act as an anchor that grounds the business in its values, beliefs and future goals. It defines a vision and a set of behaviours that drives the internal culture of a business and results in a consistent experience of clients and customers.

When communicating your message in a B2B environment, a brand needs to ensure the message is highly logic-driven rather than solely relying on the emotive levers pulled in traditional B2C marketing communications. In general, B2B marketing strategy needs to deliver a product or service that results in increased productivity or reduced costs for the target market. Undertaking both qualitative and quantitative research gives businesses the insight needed to make strategic decisions about their brand direction and it often brings out other underlying strategic business-related opportunities and threats that need to be addressed.

Through brand research, BrandMatters is able to distil valuable insights that delve deep into the customer psyche and uncover the truths about brand perception, market challenges and consumer needs which are often common across each industry but can also be unique to each organisation.

Independent research allows clients of B2B organisations an opportunity to be heard. This, in itself, is a valuable demonstration that their opinions matter, and that their needs are being addressed.

Choosing the right brand agency to work with can be a challenge; you need to consider your budget, but you should also feel comfortable that the agency understands your industry or niche. In a world of mass marketing and a one size fits all approach, consumers and businesses are thirsty for personalisation and a brand that truly understands their needs at all stages of the buyer journey.

Many larger agencies are starting to divide and conquer - realising the benefits of smaller, niche agencies to satisfy the demand of specialisation. At BrandMatters, we work with clients of all sizes and the general consensus, regardless of their size, has been that we punch above our weight. The strategic insight delivered via in-depth research has proven to be incredibly strong ammunition for success.

CEOs and CMOs of some of Australia’s largest and most successful financial services brands have said that having an agency such as BrandMatters as their partner has given them the confidence to make large and complex business decisions. These strategic decisions often guide the organisation forward in a new direction or confirm and cement their existing direction. In some cases, it has been clarity of direction that was sorely lacking.

The small but experienced brand consultant team at BrandMatters are experts in delivering research in a way that helps:

  • Shine a light on the current situation
  • Uncover the distinctive attributes that will make your brand relevant and attractive to your target market.
  • Articulate these distinctive positioning attributes in a way that is easy to communicate throughout the whole organisation and gain buy-in.
  • Execute the plan with confidence and drive success.

Across all industries, there is a trend for consumers to be attracted to a more distinctive brand that is tailored to their needs. Customer experience has become such an essential ingredient in your future brand strategy regardless of the size of your brand. Understanding exactly what customers want and need is the key.

Customers - whether B2B or B2C, want to be heard and appreciated. They also want to be understood, and in complex industries, this is the special skill of a specialised agency. BrandMatters helps businesses listen, learn and then demonstrate their understanding.