Doing a Ritson
Any brand that says they are “doing a Ritson” is likely to pique the interest. What does “doing a Ritson” mean, apart from writing expletive-strewn columns for Marketing Week?
Well, for BT it means taking a step back to look at its brand architecture and realising that its three consumer-facing brands – BT, EE and Plusnet have all got a bit too close to each other. That, as its brand and performance marketing director David Stratton points out, is a problem because it means they are all going after audiences that are too similar.
Stratton says: “We looked at the make-up of the customer base; they were too close. Going forward that wasn’t a sustainable long-term strategy. BT is very clear, it is a premium provider. We want to make clear Plusnet is in the value space and appeals to a distinct consumer versus BT and EE.”
To do that, Plusnet has been working to “sharpen” its positioning around value and leaning into its brand codes. The idea is that whenever someone sees the Plusnet brand they will see the colour pink, its brand ambassador Plusnet Joe and a Yorkshire tone of voice.
“We did a bit of a Mark Ritson on it, to make sure it was about codes and consistency,” says Stratton.
After more than seven years of reading Ritson columns, I can attest that the man himself would approve of BT’s strategy. Here is a company that has taken a look at its brand architecture, found a problem and worked towards a solution that should mean BT, EE and Plusnet are all more profitable in the future. More companies should try it.