Marketing for growth
As part of its marketing for growth series, NSBL asks a trio of North Somerset based businesses about their approach to marketing and branding.
It’s become an unspoken rule in business that companies that have fared best during the recession, have been those that have committed to marketing and advertising themselves, rather than digging a trench and hoping for the best.
Take Thatchers Cider for example – a family business that begun making cider in 1904.
Its Managing Director is Martin Thatcher, he is the fourth generation to lead the operation, and running simultaneous to the company’s meticulous, age-old inspired cider making processes has been a modern and vibrant marketing and advertising campaign.
What kind of campaign
In March 2012, the North Somerset cider maker launched a £4million national advertising campaign which has been running on all major television slots.
It has been underpinned by a national billboard campaign which started off across forty sites in Bristol before being rolled out across Somerset and then the UK.
Martin comments on its impact: “Naturally, embarking on a national advertising campaign will increase demand further outside of the South West.
“To exactly what extent the adverts have driven this demand you will never really know. But it is certainly a massive help – people will see the adverts, like the product and then tell their friends, and this is why having a top-quality product is important – otherwise you may not get a second chance.”
Acting as white noise in the background has also been a sustained public relations (PR) campaign across a wide section of media such as national newspapers, consumer magazines and regional press, as well as sponsorship of clubs including Bath Rugby, Yeovil Football Club, Torquay United and Somerset County Cricket.
A Bristol Airport re-brand
Another big name in the region to invest in its marketing and branding, during the recession has been Bristol Airport.
In March 2010 the Airport launched a completely new brand with the strap-line – Amazing Journeys Start Here.
It was built from the bottom up and this meant engagement with passengers, staff and stakeholders in order to create the new vision.
The new brand replaced the ‘Bristol International’ identity which was introduced in 1997.
Robert Sinclair, who is Chief Executive Officer of Bristol Airport, explains why they did it: “We needed to clearly state what Bristol Airport stood for as a business and we felt we could be much bolder in our ambition.
“We wanted a brand that put passengers first. The new brand and vision relates to all of our customers, whether heading off to new horizons for business or leisure, or flying in to visit the South West.
“The brand, and the pillars which support it, remain central to everything we do. It informs our actions across all areas of the business. For example, the brand pillar ‘serving our region’ has been the driver behind recent marketing campaigns in the outlying areas of our catchment area where we have succeeded in building market share.”
For SMEs, it also seems that the ones out-performing their competitors are those embracing marketing.
Langford based Create Signs is a good example. Set up in 2002 Create Signs specialises in the design and manufacture of interior and exterior signs.
According to Ally Jones, who is responsible for Create’s marketing, leveraging networking and social media has been a vital ingredient for success.
Ally comments: “We operate a vibrant twitter feed as well as a blog and installation showcase on our website. Having a strong online presence is important.
“It ensures we’re perceived as a professional operation from the outset, which when organisations are pitching for business, can be the difference between receiving a phone call or not.”
The measure of success
With such capital outlay and broad campaigns, measuring marketing success can be daunting task.
But the sales and marketing team at Thatchers for example, carry out benchmarking and research on a regional and national level to judge the difference to what is being sold beforehand to what is sold after the campaign.
For Thatchers at least, it seems that alongside sustained investment right across the business, and growing consumer appetite for Cider, marketing seems to be contributing to growth.
The business has posted year on year increases in sales, 37 per cent in the year up to August 2011 to be exact; and turned over £40 million in the last financial year – with the equivalent of 80 million pints of cider leaving the farm so far this year.