‘People buy brands first, companies second’, says Britvic

Britvic’s GB marketing director Kevin McNair says the company has no plans to copy fellow FMCG brands such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble in starting to promote their corporate brands because he believes consumers “buy brands first, companies second”.

Some of the world’s biggest global companies including P&G and Unilever have in the last couple of years moved towards communications that promote the corporate brand.

In 2014, Unilever launched its first TV ad promoting its corporate brand as part of its ‘Project Sunlight’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of its sustainability work. Meanwhile, P&G has started including its corporate logo in all ad campaigns that enforce its brand mission “touching and improving lives”.

While McNair acknowledges that the Britvic brand is “absolutely” well-known in the food and drink industry, he does not believe a corporate marketing campaign is needed.

“People should know the company behind some [big] brands, that certainly is something I take from my time at Unilever,” he told Marketing Week.

“Do I envisage a corporate campaign from a Britvic perspective? Maybe, when it matters on [products] like mixers and if we choose to go beyond that. But I do believe consumers buy brands first and companies second. If anything, it will be a reassurance point rather than a lead.”

Focusing on engagement

Britvic will be launching a number of campaigns for its products over the summer, with the biggest activity based around Robinson’s 81-year sponsorship of the Wimbledon Championships. According to PR firm Waggener Edstrom’s Brand Agility Index, last year’s Robinsons campaign was deemed “the most effective” across five UK-based events, including Wimbledon, The Ashes, The Open, World Championship Athletics and Silverstone F1.

Topping a list of 19 brands, Robinsons was credited for its “pick one event and go big” approach and its personalisation during Wimbledon, in which it deployed community managers to respond instantly to tweets.

READ NOW: Robinsons at Wimbledon tops the list for best UK sports sponsorship, study finds

This year, however, the brand is adopting a different strategy. It will give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at what happens at Wimbledon on social media and test outdoor activations that react to local weather conditions. It is also working with various grocers to launch a VR campaign.

“People can sit on the umpire’s chair and put the VR goggles on and see things that only the umpires get to see. It’s about making them feel part of Wimbledon,” he explained.

When it comes to Britvic’s social activity, McNair said the brand is “learning to develop sharable content”.

He concluded: “[We are] moving away from the traditional ‘retweet or like to be entered into a draw to win tickets’ to getting people to share their Wimbledon Robinsons moment instead. I’ve always been a great believer in creating conversations with consumers. We as marketers can sometimes be guilty of pushing messages rather than engaging with consumers and start a conversation.”

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