Field Marketing: Innovation ensures success

Brands seeking to connect with consumers in person need to take a creative, integrated approach, writes Suzy Bashford.

Ann Summers: searches for 'real women'
Ann Summers: searches for 'real women'

Field marketing is becoming ever-more important because of – not in spite of – the fact that we live in an increasingly virtual world. As these four case studies show, field marketing is benefiting from a reaction to the time consumers spend online.

They may be logging on to social networks for longer periods, but when they do get out into the "real" world, they appear to be more receptive than ever to face-to-face contact.

Particularly for relatively intangible services, such as Freeview, creating a physical presence and personality for the brand is critical.

Similarly, another facet of field marketing that is fast becoming essential for other brands, like Ann Summers, is collecting content from consumers that can be used in social media campaigns.

Both these major trends mean that the levels of creativity in this marketplace are on the up, allowing even functional brands, like E.ON, to come to life.

As is argued in the Red Bull case study, there can be something magical about getting up close and personal with your consumers. For four examples of originality, creativity, strategy and integration, read on.

Ann Summers and BEcause

Brand Q&A: Victoria Taylor, marketing manager, Ann Summers

What did you do?
Looked for real women to star in our first TV ad by taking our 'Sexy Uncovered Model Search Roadshow' to four shopping centres. Ten finalists appeared in our ad during the last episode of 'The Only Way is Essex'. The public voted and the winner was revealed in another ad. 

What is particularly innovative about this campaign?
Using a live brand experience not only to generate great content, but to engage consumers in a more personal way. This fuelled a much larger-scale integrated campaign. We wanted to re-engage consumers and reach new audiences by taking our new brand to them.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered and how did you overcome it?
Because of the adult target of our brand, we had to go through a much more stringent and elongated sign-off process for the stand build and creative communications. We set a precedent when it came to the levels for the sign-off process.

How did digital play a part?
We created a dedicated microsite and iPhone app. Users could find out more and link to us on Facebook and Twitter. Social media comment was supported by our chief executive, Jacqueline Gold.

Did you learn anything doing this?
It's been an interesting test of the impact that live marketing can have on our business. The level of positive engagement that can be achieved offers a much richer and deeper conversation with the customer.

Were you satisfied that the campaign met your objectives?
The roadshow surpassed its engagement targets of 9,800 consumer interactions and hit a total of 15,000 face-to-face interactions and 650 fully immersive consumer experiences.


Agency Q&A: Anna Bradshaw, account director, BEcause

Was there anything about the brand's approach you particularly liked?
The integrated mindset. For example, when it came to merchandising and staffing the roadshow stand, the Ann Summers team did this with an effective blend of our plans and its own.

What advice would you have for other brands reading this article that might want to do a campaign like this?
Think carefully from the outset about what existing assets can help dress events. Don't just think about integrating an idea down from above the line, but also up from below the line.


Red Bull and REL

Red Bull Formula 1 car

Brand Q&A: Gordon Yule, head of field sales, Red Bull

What did you do?
We parked our Formula 1 car in depots of three Booker cash-and-carry branches in Scotland, where Red Bull had been under-indexing. We sent out branded mailers to Booker customers, launched themed competitions, created websites, produced branded POS material, ran a text-message campaign and hosted events for local charities. Initially it ran in April 2011, but we are currently running it again because it proved so successful.

What is particularly innovative about this campaign?
We had never involved wholesale staff, depot managers and their customers to this extent. Obviously we are looking to drive a sales uplift, but, while ROI is clearly important, this work is really about using field marketing to stimulate long-term sales increases and creating an enduring feel-good factor in communities.

It's not about a national one-size-fits-all campaign. Field marketing should be about the individual first and the brand second. That should be reflected in the brand activation. We want to do this more in future.

The car itself also represents innovation – there's something magical about getting up close and personal with the actual machine that has won a world title.

What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The logistical challenge of getting an F1 car from Milton Keynes to Scotland. We had to plan it meticulously.

How did the approach of your agency, REL, contribute to the campaign's success?
Through the fact that REL is totally integrated. I work for Red Bull but, in my eyes, so does my agency. That is key to ensuring we get the quality we demand.

Were you satisfied that the campaign met your objectives?
Yes. To pick just a couple of impressive results of the activity, we achieved a 3131% sales uplift on our 250ml sugar-free drink and a 2801% uplift on our 250ml energy drink. The ROI, looking purely at the activity as a standalone campaign, was 92% (net return after costs). 


Agency Q&A: Richard Hamilton, Red Bull cash and carry sales manager, REL

Was there anything about the brand's approach that particularly contributed to the campaign's success?
The integration was fantastic across our business and Red Bull's, to the extent that we were seen as one company.

What next?
Taking it national, across the UK.

What advice do you have for other brands that might want a similar campaign?
Challenge the expectations of what can be achieved in the wholesale channel. Before running this campaign Red Bull didn't have a field sales team looking at the cash-and-carry sector. This activity showed how much can be achieved by a small, dedicated team of experts.


Freeview and Gekko


Brand Q&A: James Chambers, retail marketing manager, Freeview

What did you do?
To refresh the Freeview brand and promote the benefits of HD, we ran a campaign in key shopping destinations in the run-up to Christmas. Our stand attracted visitors via games and a photo booth, where they could receive a photo to keep. To drive data capture, we ran a prize draw for a 3D Blu-ray home cinema system donated by Panasonic. There were also sales demonstrators in nearby retailers.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered and how did you overcome it?
To cut through and distract people on a mission to shop. We used creative, fun ways to distract them and alleviate the Christmas-shopping stress.

Did digital play a part?
We used Facebook and Twitter to talk about the campaign.

Was there anything about your agency's approach that contributed to the campaign's success?
Its efficiency and imagination. The team just gets on with it, with minimum fuss.

Were you satisfied that it met your objectives?
Absolutely. We're not about the hard sell, but creating empathy and understanding of the brand. The activity achieved this in spades. We gained very positive feedback from having a "face" to the brand, where people could ask questions and gain straight answers.

What would you improve about this campaign if you did it again?
Optimise the games. The photo booth was less popular than the hands-on games that younger kids could get involved with. We will be touring the country again soon with a new execution.


Agency Q&A: Daniel Todaro, managing director, Gekko

What do you think was particularly innovative about the campaign?
The activities on the stand were simple, but effective. Anyone could have a go. This led to a higher rate of interaction and more opportunities to communicate key messages. Across three weekends, we talked to almost 60,000 consumers. More than 10,500, in all age groups, took part in the games and more than 17,400 branded balloons and sweets were distributed.

What advice would you have for other brands who might want to do a campaign like this?
The in-store sales demonstrators worked well. We liaised with store managers, supporting the team on the stand and selling Freeview products to interested shoppers.


E.ON and RPM


Brand Q&A: Jeremy Davies Director of marketing, E.ON

What did you do?
We supported our overarching "Get energy fit" message via a roadshow, demonstrating easily achievable energy savings, and highlighted our 2011 FA Cup sponsorship. This 'E.ON Experience' culminated in a 'Fit Fans' activation at Wembley, where football fans were encouraged to dance on a kinetic dancefloor. The energy generated was recorded and the victorious city won £10,000 for its club's community scheme. All participants were entered in to a prize draw to win Cup Final tickets, signed match shirts and balls.

What is particularly innovative about this campaign?
The way it uses a creative approach to bring a functional brand to life. The dynamic stand showed consumers how they could easily achieve energy savings.

Did digital play any part?
We created an energy saving smartphone app and a tool that enabled visitors to create and share a picture of themselves as if holding the FA Cup.

Did the campaign meet your objectives?
Yes. In 15 UK cities, more than 25,000 consumers visited our stand and more than 8,000 had energy-saving consultations. Over 90,000 saw our activity.

What was it about your agency's approach that contributed to the campaign's success?
Its originality, creativity, strategic thinking and ability to conceive engaging interactive activities.

Would you run another campaign like this one in future?
Energy Fit is an enduring campaign and engaging customers in energy efficiency issues will remain a central tenet of all that we do. Experiental is a critical way to drive that engagement.


Agency Q&A: Tom Lovegrove, account director, RPM

How did the brand's approach contribute to the campaign's success?
They had an open attitude to ideas, respect for our expertise and were happy for us to lead.

It was the kind of brief that we love to work on because it wasn't prescriptive or restrictive and we could be as creative as we liked.

What advice would you have for other brands that might want to do a campaign like this?
Strategic experiential activity like this truly engages consumers by giving them an interesting, valuable experience. This helps to drive brand loyalty and, if it's original and creative enough, the public will share their experiences and engage with you in the long term.