Three examples of how brand experience steams ahead

Philips demoIn a world of sceptics, it is often hard to convince brand owners to choose one discipline over another; but these three case studies – provided by i2i Marketing – show just how powerful brand experience campaigns can be in overturning consumer misconceptions, and reveal how brands which have bravely engaged new customers have enjoyed success.
Why people were glad they gave gluten-free a chance: According to Mintel, the UK’s free-from phenomenon has finally taken hold. Sales of free-from foods were forecast to grow by 13% to reach £531m in 2016, and £673m by 2020.
Yet free-from still faces challenges. Nearly two fifths (39%) of Brits who do not eat or buy free-from food say it’s too expensive compared to other food [Mintel]. Producers could also face difficulty persuading people it’s worth the money if household budgets are hit hard by the economic pressures caused by Brexit.
Taste is another bitter issue. Some 22% of non-users say free-from products do not taste as good as standard alternatives. That was the problem for Genius when the brand asked for help with overriding people’s fears about spending money on a product deemed healthy but unappetising.
Research demonstrated that Genius was the tastier free from bread and that when tasted consumers loved the product. A campaign aiming to widen the consumer base of Genius’s gluten-free range needed to address consumer preconceptions about the taste, quality and benefits of gluten-free food.
There is very limited understanding and awareness of the benefits of a gluten-free or a low-gluten diet by the public. Genius wanted to make a concerted effort to engage and educate potential new customers about its product range and benefits.
A winning concept needed to increase awareness of Genius in a multi-tiered engagement campaign, targeting consumers who had to eat gluten free due to allergies and others who wanted healthier diets.
Pop-up cafés appeared in major city centres, directly challenging workers’ preconceptions by offering a gratis ‘free from’ lunch. The activity was followed up with a highly targeted campaign at supermarkets offering tastings and incentives to buy there and then.
The multi-layered campaign got Genius into people’s mouths in an innovative and memorable way, highlighting the quality of the brand’s range. More than 100,000 customers had a healthy gluten-free lunch with 98% offering positive feedback on taste, dispelling myths and proving that tasting is believing. Meanwhile, sales at participating multiples rocketed by 5,000%. Overall, Genius has grown its UK sales 6.1% to £30.4m in the year to October 2016 (Nielsen).
How iced coffee turned up the heat in the UK coffee market: Since the arrival of big chains like Starbucks and Costa, Brits have gone mad for coffee. According to the British Coffee Association, the nation drinks a total of 70 million cups each day.
It’s not easy, though, to persuade lovers of hot coffee to give up their warming mug and try iced coffee. The beverage accounted for only 3.3% of total UK coffee shop sales in 2015, according to ProjectIced 2016 UK.
Barriers to sale include lack of awareness and trial of the category, combined with preconceptions about the taste of iced coffee and the vagaries of that most unpredictable
British institution: the weather. The cooler the summer, the lower the expected sales of iced coffee. These were the challenges facing cold coffee brand Emmi Caffè Latte as it aimed to build brand awareness and sales across its range.
Education and trial were key. The activation needed to address negative views on iced coffee and general low awareness of Emmi Caffè Latte. Simultaneously, it had to capture consumers’ imaginations to drive consideration and trial through a brand experience campaign in the right place, at the right time. The brand wanted to target early adopters and make it a trendy drink ‘for them’ that they had discovered.
A mobile Caffè Latte café was created with a fun mega-van conversion handing out generous chilled samples to give an instant taste of fresh coffee, ice cold. In urban hot-spot locations filled with coffee-culture consumers, the Emmi team targeted people on their way to and from work, and during their lunch breaks. The team also targeted retailers.
At highly targeted festivals, Emmi created an amazing experience with a huge yurt featuring an Emmi Caffè Latte cocktail bar, chill-out area and GifGif video booth linked to social media. Festival-goers were also treated to a free iced coffee morning treat delivered direct to their tent.
Around 150,000 people trialled the products, while Tesco recorded a 693% sales uplift following the campaign. More than 100,000 festival-goers were reached with a 75% intent to purchase recorded.
The client said: “Experiential sampling is critical for the brand’s development. This was an impactful and engaging brand experience, combined with mass, targeted consumer sampling.”
Full steam ahead: demonstrating the value of premium appliances: The thought of paying a few hundred pounds for a new iron makes steam come out of most people’s ears. Consumers can, however, be persuaded to trade up if they are convinced to think about best value rather than lowest cost. A more reliable, better quality machine that delivers superior results in half the time was on offer.
A Which? survey found that fewer than one in 10 people were prepared to pay a three-figure sum for an iron. So when Philips asked for help to convince people who were being put off by the price tag of its Perfect Care irons, we turned up the heat on a brand experience campaign.
Few people actively enjoy ironing, which is seen as an essential but mundane and time-consuming household chore. Perfect Care irons are ‘magical’ products designed for efficiency and speed, cutting ironing time by half. The appliances have added benefits, making it easy to iron even the most sensitive of materials with no risk of burning.
The brand’s main problem was to convince consumers to trade up from a standard, £30 ‘does the job’ iron to a premium product worth £150 or more. A further challenge was to get people back in-store to check out the appliances, rather than relying on online descriptions and reviews, and to make the retailer environment a more engaging space instead of a faceless storage area of boxes.
Using the mantra of ‘in-store inspiration and collection’, we developed a permanent team of highly trained demonstrators to advise potential customers at major retail partners, using impactful, engaging collateral.
Demonstrators aimed to make consumers think differently about ironing and to see the great value of Perfect Care irons. They used a range of items to bring the brand and products to life, including fabric swatches to highlight the ease with which the iron could tackle different textures.
Philips Perfect Care is now the number one brand in garment care. Demonstrators sell more than £2.5m per annum, with unit sales per day increasing by more than 365%: a massive return on investment.
The brand has established a whole new pricing benchmark for the category that has been accepted by consumers, and delivered higher levels of profitability for the brand and for retailers.

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