22 March 2012

The Secret Marketer asks if your head office is up to scratch

Secret Marketer

This week, my team and I pulled together a proposal to invest in the visual identity of our head office. The pretext is simple. Many of our customers, partners, analysts and suppliers visit our head office, so it is therefore paramount that they ‘feel’ the brand when they are here. They need to understand what […]

Insurers use data to retain customers

The latest Financial Services Tracker (www.mwlinks.co.uk/ MediaSpend) highlights the importance of brand power in the face of lower consumer spending. Over the past few years, more and more low-cost brands have entered the insurance market and in such a price sensitive space have easily taken market share. However, as your article referenced, the current climate […]

Seven-a-side player search

The National Advertising Benevolent Society is holding a celebration dinner for its annual seven-a-side rugby tournament on Monday 23 April at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, and the organisers are keen to trace players from previous years, especially those who have moved from the agency to the client side. For further details please contact l.morris@nabs.org.uk or […]

How to be the third wheel on social media platforms

It is possible for brands to provide useful content or experiences on social media platforms (MW 8 March) by using incentivised advertising formats. Engaged adverts can generate a return on investment for both parties. For example, in return for participating in a brand’s communication on Facebook, the user can receive free game credits. When used […]

Use communications to shape brand strategy

Ruth Mortimer

Ruth Mortimer

The UK is a “go-to” nation for best practice in marketing, according to a World Federation of Advertisers poll of senior marketers from global brands last week. While many of the planet’s largest companies are based in the US, brands are increasingly looking to smaller markets such as Britain for marketing inspiration.

This view comes as no surprise to me. I am constantly being made aware of the activity and enthusiasm of the UK marketing industry. When last week’s cover story asked if marketing itself needed a rebrand, the industry leapt into action across our website and Twitter to debate the issues.

As Kate Popay tweeted: “Loving the rebrand marketing idea. It’s funny as marketers we live and breathe branding but haven’t branded what we do very well.”

It was notable in the debate surrounding this issue how open UK marketers are to change. One interesting comment came from Neil Hopkins, who tweeted that rather than talking solely about marketing, it should all be looked at more holistically. He advocates: “Customer-centric communications.”

This idea of taking a more holistic view of business strategy is the theme of our new quarterly section, PR Strategy (online later today). It looks at how communications can be used as a strategic tool for organisations, rather than simply as a way of shouting about activity once it has been decided.

These days, the smart brands are hiring communications specialists who understand every aspect of what the organisation is trying to achieve. They are not only mouthpieces; they are strategic brand partners, working with marketers to develop effective ways of operating that boost the bottom line.

As part of PR Strategy, we talk to Ian Wright, corporate relations director at Diageo, whose role not only allows him to oversee communications but also positions him as a leader at the top of the organisation. As Wright puts it: “The central plank of the job is that I’m responsible for Diageo’s reputation.”

With exclusive research from the Public Relations Consultants Association showing that 18% of PR professionals get no access to the chief executive at their organisation, it is clear that Diageo is forward-thinking in truly integrating communications with its overall corporate strategies.

The UK may be one of the leaders in marketing best practice, but there is still room for improvement. Using PR in the most effective and inspirational manner possible is one way for brands to take the lead; next week, in another new section – CMO Strategy – we’ll be offering even more insight and trends to help put you ahead of your rivals. Now that’s something worth communicating.

Apple stands on the edge of a parent trap


You could probably teach a pretty good master’s degree in marketing based on the strategic decisions that Apple has made over the past decade. There would be courses on brand revitalisation, building brand equity, customer driven innovation, disruptive strategy and, perhaps most impressively of all, maintaining price premium. Apple is, quite simply, a phenomenal marketing […]

Brands must stay true to core values

I was disappointed to see that John Lewis intends to pump more money into its ‘price match’ (MW last week). The Never Knowingly Undersold slogan should be more than just about price. John Lewis marketing director Craig Inglis says it is “rooted in the brand”, and it is admirable that he is willing to stick […]

Hatching a new way to do business


Some of the world’s biggest companies are taking steps to protect their position in the market by embracing the culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism that allows small start-ups to thrive.

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