Marketing Insight. When used creatively and strategically can be incredibly powerful.

Marketing is simple! – Know your customer, understand your market and how your product / service fits within it and then apply the basics – Deliver the right message to the right person at the right time in the right place – sounds easy right? But to be able to do this you need to have good marketing insight and use it uniquely well.

To make sure that your brand resonates with your chosen audience, your activity must be driven from marketing insight. If you can tap into a little nugget of information that you use uniquely well you will cut through all the other noise and stand out from the competition. You’ll be onto a winner.

Here are my favourite examples of where customer and marketing insight has been expertly used to deliver amazing results.

1) Pret a manger – Veggie Pret Pop Up

I love Pret a Manger – possibly one of my favourite fast food restaurants, actually, practically the only place I will buy grab-and-go food. I’m a part time veggie, part time vegan and part time chocaholic! -I try and eat natural unprocessed food as much as possible so I have always headed to Pret for my lunch when in the City. I followed the launch of their pop up veg and vegan store in London with envy as I sat in my rural Northamptonshire wishing I could access its treats!

The Insight – The UK is seeing a growth in the number of “Flexitarians” who enjoy a plant based/ meat free diet, especially among millennials that will still occasionally eat meat. Plus, only 39% of Britons now head for a sweet treat in-between meals, instead they are opting for more healthy snacks.

Brand reaction – Pret established its first pop up veggie store in Soho in 2016 as a month long trial.  It stocked only vegetarian and vegan food and plant based snacks. It was publicised in social channels and Pret enabled customers to feedback their thoughts and opinions with instore suggestion boxes and online feedback. With over 20,000 positive comments in the first month of opening Pret realised they had tapped into a good thing.

​Success? – It has helped push the chain’s sales for 2016 up 5% from the previous year with profits up 11% to £93.2million. The first veggie Pret in Soho, initially a month trail, is now a permanent store and a second has opened up in Shoreditch and more stores are planned. Their success has seen many of the products rolled out to stores across the UK and overseas. 

2) Nike – Find Your Greatness

For the 2012 London Olympics Adidas, Nikes biggest competitor, won the rights to be the official sportswear sponsor. This meant that Nike lost out to global TV coverage and athlete sponsorship. Not wishing to lose an opportunity to associate their brand with the Games, Nike needed to find a clever way in which they could attract attention.

The Insight:  Not everyone is a fit, lean, uber achieving athlete that can complete at a professional level and it’s not just the championship athlete or record breaker that aspires to push their limits. There are millions of people who wish to become fitter, and achieve their personal goals.

Brand response:  Nike created a series of adverts that showed everyday people doing everyday sports, participating and enjoying the thrill of achieving a sport at their own level, pushing themselves to their limits and striving for success. “The idea behind “Find Your Greatness is to simply inspire and energise everyday athletes everywhere and to celebrate their achievements, participate and enjoy the thrill of achieving in sport at their own level,” said Nike brand chief Greg Hoffman. The ad I loved most featured an overweight 12-year-old boy named Nathan from London, Ohio (Nike used various worldwide London locations to link back to the UK Games). The video shows the boy slowly jogging towards the camera, panting and looking far from athletic. The narrator (Tom Hardy) says: “Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is gift, reserved for a chosen few — for prodigies, for superstars — and the rest of us can only stand by watching. You can forget that.” How awesome! The ads were so in line with Nike’s core brand values of “striving for greatness”, “pushing your potential” and “winning” but allowed the brand to connect at a more universal, human and everyday level.

Success? The accumulated social, press, PR, TV and event activity that Nike conducted around the theme of Find Your Greatness far outshone the official sponsors Adidas. The overweight running boy video went viral on YouTube, and other social media channels. Running parallel to this was a Twitter promotion #findgreatness which ignited global conversation about how athletes around the world find their own greatness, plus there was a host of Nike sponsored activity from 5K races to football matches in 3rd world townships. Nike achieved a 6% growth in its number of Facebook fans and a 77% boost in engagement on its Facebook page, compared to 2% and 59% respectively for Adidas.

3) Old Spice – “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

Old Spice was a brand traditionally associated with older men. I’m pretty sure my dad had a bottle of the aftershave in the 70’s! When they came to launch their new range of men’s shower products they had a big uphill battle on their hand to not only change their brand perception but also to create differentiation in a crowded market. The ads were brilliant at capitalising on an interesting insight which Old Spice used to turn their advertising on its head.

The Insight:  Most men’s shower products are bought by their wives or girlfriends. And it’s usually something floral smelling!

Brand response: Armed with this insight Old Spice decided to target women and cleverly managed to create a campaign that drew on both the long standing brand history and product expertise to transform their brand image. The ads featured a hunky x-NFL member, wrapped in a towel representing the experienced, manly, rugged brand elements of Old Spice. He cheekily delivers a promise of what’s possible “when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady.” While talking the Old Spice guy walks though different activities, locations, costumes, and extraordinary situations, all in one uninterrupted take while maintaining constant eye-contact with the camera in a nonchalant demeanor.

Success? –Oh my gosh yes! Following the launch of the ad campaign, the company’s sales more than doubled, their website traffic increased by 300%, the Old Spice YouTube channel became the #1 most viewed YouTube channel – and Old Spice became the #1 body wash brand for men! The story continued with further iterations of the ad, clever combinations of direct response and digital activity. When I did my IDM degree we studied this campaign as an example of how multi-channel, multiple disciplines, agile creative and excellent placement can be used to achieve amazing results.

4) Always: Like a Girl

Who wants to talk about periods or their favourite tampon brand? It’s just not a conversation women have. Always, traditionally a strong player in feminine hygiene had been losing market share to fierce competition particularly in the 16-24yr age bracket – the age where women are forging strong brand allegiances – because of their lack of innovation and engagement in emerging channels to market.

The Insight: A study conducted showed that the teenage years are where girls start to feel the pressure of adulthood and nearly half of girls (49%) feel paralysed by the fear of failure. This leads to girls avoiding trying new things because they’re too afraid to fail and engenders long lasting confidence, anxiety and self-esteem issues.

Brand response: The brand had always (forgive the pun) used “confidence” as its key brand value – educating teenagers about their bodies and puberty so that they could feel confident about themselves and linking to the confidence that the product wouldn’t let a girl down. Always looked at the phrase “Like a girl” and why this was classed as an insult and used it as their campaign slogan to turn it on its head and show it to mean empowerment and that doing things #LikeAGirl is female empowerment at its best.

Success? The first #LikeAGirl video from Always has been viewed more than 90million times on YouTube and is the global number 2 viral video. Always Twitter followers tripled in the first 3 months of the original campaign with almost 200K #LikeAGirl tweets. The Always #LikeAGirl campaign has also inspired a movement and started to change public perception. The campaign is widely celebrated for breaking stereotypes and empowering women. Plus, commercially, claimed purchase intent grew more than 50% of Always products.

And finally….

5) Sport England: This Girl Can

Sport England’s objectives are to promote and encourage activity and sport across the UK. However, they were struggling to get women engaged.

The Insight:  Fewer women than men play sport, despite 75% of us saying we wish to be more active. The barrier, Sport England found out was that women fear judgement. We fear that we will look silly; that we won’t be good enough or that our choice of activity will cause comment.

Brand response:  This Girl Can told the story of everyday women and how they play sport. It tackled the key issues that affected women’s motivation to play sport which really rang true with me (my bits will wobble/ I will be red and sweaty/ I will be judged for not being good enough) as well as generic stereotypes (women can’t play football / kickbox etc). In the first TV ad it featured a lady cycling with the caption “I’m slow but I’m lapping everyone on the couch”. It landed well with women and generated massive social buzz which the brand capitalized and built on with all future activity.

Success: From a campaign level absolutely, the 90-second “This girl can” spot has been watched more than 37m times on Facebook and YouTube alone. The campaigns social-media community is more than 500,000 and there are over 1/2million tweets using the #, plus the overall partnership, joint sponsorship and involvement of other companies has also been inspiring (M&S, Sport Relief all joined in the campaign). But what is even more inspiring is that the attitudes to sport amongst women has hanged with 2.8m more women starting exercising, which is a faster growth rate than that of men. 1.6m of which cited that they tried sport for the first time as a direct result of the campaign.

Written by Tricia Rogers – GingerTree Marketing

Providing insight driven support to businesses large and small. From brand development, customer communications and strategic marketing planning, across all channels.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *