I remember a teacher once told me to treat marketing and advertising campaigns like you are preparing for battle. A good army is well prepared, well equipped and well educated of the enemy with the prize, winning over people.
Sounds a little barbaric but in reality, marketing campaigns do just that. You have to prepare all your assets, align the team and know the enemy, in this case it’s competing brands. So, when I was handed the reigns of launching Cheeki’s new brand I was nervous but it was a battle I wanted to take on.
I originally was only going to helping out with the launch and I was to continue managing Cheeki, the company’s main brand. Then Covid hit, staff were let go and the budget for the advertising agency that was allocated for the launch was too expensive and was terminated.
As the cliché goes, the show must go on and the project landed on my lap. From branding, package design, PR and everything else. It was my job to get it done. I have to say a big thanks to my Director, Simon for having the faith and trust in me to get this done.
To set the scene, I had a range of tablet-based cleaning products that dissolve in water to create a cleaning solution with the only thing that was locked in was the name – CHANGE.
It didn’t take long to realise that marketing cleaning products is a completely different beast and I had to get to know my enemy. This enemy had two major advantages we didn’t have and that was strong brand recognition and widespread product availability.
We had one major advantage over the enemy – we we’re new. Everyone loves something that’s new. That’s the main theme I worked with when writing up the brand standards and designing the packaging. I took all the selling points from the mainstream household cleaning products and did the opposite. The packaging was minimal with no bright colours, loud language. To replicate the fact, it’s a tablet not a liquid I introduced geometric shapes and a splash of colour to differentiate between the products in the range.
The plan started to come to together.
From there I briefed the team at The Better Brands Co on the Photography style, working with the shapes and colours and also a digital ad agency to help produce the social media ads.
The idea of being new the brand took a digital approach for the launch so it was really important to get the images and videos looking awesome. However, we didn’t want to neglect the traditional media so a PR team was brought onboard. I personally needed help so the company hired a digital marketing person to help with the brand launch.
Now I had all my army briefed and prepared. Our weapon was a product that is a revolutionary new way to clean. Our ammunition was messaging on being new, better for the planet in reducing plastic waste, more economical. Our mission was to get people to CHANGE the way they clean.
Launching the product was a success.
Digital ads went out, PR was doing their thing and we we’re in the office making sure it was all going smoothly. People loved the idea and reacted strongly to the assets but a month into launch the sales we’re not coming in.
The brand reached far and wide in magazines, trade publications, online and through influencers but the we were failing in our mission to get people to CHANGE. As the launch campaigned dwindled after 4 months sales were not where they were expected to be.
Once the launch campaign was over, I sat back in defeat, licking my wounds wondering where it went wrong. Yes, the launch battle was lost. We had some wins but overall, the mission was unsuccessful.
I was proud of the work we’d had done and as a kid my dad would always say there are winners and there are learners. What we learned was that we didn’t know our enemies well enough and we didn’t know our target well enough.
Firstly, we identified that brand’s position was not defined and executed properly. The product wasn’t natural or eco enough to be classified as eco but it wasn’t mainstream enough to be accepted by major supermarkets.
Secondly , I totally underestimated the massive challenge of getting people to change their habits with a product that’s not a visual product. For example, much of decisions came off the back of what I did for Cheeki. It’s easier to generate change when people are visualising it, this is where Cheeki has a big advantage. Reducing plastic use is high on the agenda of many consumers and walking around with a reusable water bottle shows off to the public that you’re helping out the planet.
We needed to find something that would affect customers directly.
The product has many advantages over traditional cleaners but in reality – why would customers want to do a 4 step process to create a cleaning solution? Even though it’s a super easy 4-step process customers don’t want to do this plus clean. Cleaning is already enough of a chore let alone having to create the actual cleaning solution.
In addition to this we found out that our messaging was all about the key selling points that we missed the main point. That is what the product actual is. It’s pretty hard to generate change when people don’t know how they are making the change.
Then we had a good look at our competitors. Plastic bottles are shiny, clean and sometimes sparkling. They represent everything you’d associate with a clean house. On a store shelf Change couldn’t compete since the packing was so different.
In addition to these issues, we had a few more minor issues to address too with the brand. With all that in mind we are now in the process of preparing for a revised launch. With more refined communications, targeted advertising and improved knowledge the team and I are confident that the CHANGE launch 2.0 will be more successful than the first.