Think back to the mobile telecoms market in 2002. Orange and Vodafone were dominant. Both had strong, dynamic brands underpinned by healthy, robust businesses. Then there was BT Cellnet languishing somewhere in the middle - a troubled business and a weak brand quickly losing ground to its rivals.
But by May that year, BT Cellnet had become O2, and in two years has been transformed into a vibrant brand and thriving business. Yes, the company made many broad structural changes to overturn its fortunes. But at its core, the authors argue, this is a compelling example of the power of branding and how re-engineering a flagging brand can transform every facet of a business - from revenue streams and profit margins to the morale of staff and, critically, the respect of a cynical public.
O2 is also a case of how tightly integrated communications can provide the answer to a riddle that has long puzzled marketers: how can I build an attractive brand with a healthy, long-term future and drive short-term sales?
More than 80 per cent of O2's marketing spend has supported sales-driving initiatives. But, interestingly, because these campaigns have been executed with a strong brand at their core, they have been unusually effective at winning long-term sales too - supposedly the job of brand communications.
O2's marketing investment has paid for itself 60 times over, generating an incremental margin of at least £4,799 million.
The judges' view
This is a compelling paper that reports a quite enormous scale of effect. The case details an exceptional rebranding case study that successfully isolates the contribution of advertising and sponsorship, and the returns on visual and strategic integration.