Category Archives: marketing

Marketing Deconstructed: NatYes (Natwest Mortgage campaign)

It’s been two weeks since my last Marketing Deconstructed post on Coke, so back into the blogging fray and this time I am looking at NatWest’s NatYes campaign. In summary: I hate this campaign for 2 reasons, 1) It’s call to action didn’t work and 2) Isn’t saying yes to too many mortgages what got this bank into trouble in the first place? Now let’s dig in:

What are they trying to do?

I’m not 100% sure but here is my theory: Housing prices are back on the rise  driven, at least in part, by government subsidised low deposit purchase programmes and the liquidity provided by quantitative easing from the BOE. NatWest and RBS (their parent) want to make some money and seize a chunk of this growing market, this integrated campaign is their attempt to do just that. But there is a problem: Natwest have, consciously or not, targeted a certain segment of the market, the higher risk element. Think about it: You want a mortgage, what’s your primary concern? The lowest interest rate? The lowest arrangement fees? Or just getting the mortgage approved? If you’re in the last camp you’re probably in a riskier segment of the market, NatYes proudly proclaims: “We say yes to 9/10 mortgage applications” – actively targeting those concerned about their credit rating, did they mean to do that? I don’t know. Another concern: In the post credit crunch world should a state owned bank that lost billions playing fast and loose with it’s mortgage risk profile be proudly proclaiming it’s saying yes to so many applications? I really am surprised this hasn’t blown up yet.

Have they succeeded?

Mixed results here too. The campaign is consistent and nicely integrated, the TV commercial is nice and all that’s well reflected on the front page of the website. BUT then there is the CTA, that’s important. The TV advert loudly proclaims: “search NatYes for more info” – OK cool, so why is it that for the first week or so of the campaign not Natwest sites ranked, in fact for a while the #1 rank was a blog post from an SEO manager about the failure of the CTA.

What could be better:

If you’re going to run a high budget, fully integrated campaign with a SEO led call to action then make damn sure you rank. In fairness I can see how this happened: The campaign launch date is set, the media is booked, then someone screws up and the SEO stuff isn’t ready to go, the campaign manager has to make a call, delay and lose the media or go and take the hit, they went, I might have done the same, but it’s a shame and shows not enough redundancy built into the campaign timing.

Regarding the why their doing this question: Hmmm, they know their risk profile better than me, but I think someone got a research report reading something like “People worry about their mortgage being rejected, of 2000 people surveyed that’s their top concern and no other bank is talking about it” so they ran with it, research can be a dangerous thing if not used carefully…

Scores on the doors:

This is a 3/10 job, it’s well integrated, the SEO issue is a fail but overall I think it’s a repeat of past mistakes, not all customers are good customers and not all profit is good profit! RBS learned this the hard way in 2008, I hope it’s not a lesson they need to learn again.


Facebook users decline in 14 of top 20 markets over last 3 months

Facebook has been in the news a lot this week, Facebook home is certainly an interesting development but that’s not what I want to write about today, its this:

Social bakers

That data is taken from Social Bakers for Q1 2013, it shows that Facebook users have declined in a whole load of markets. Europe and the USA are most numerous in the list of markets but the biggest % declines are in Indonesia and Malaysia.

This is a concern for Facebook, when combined with other recent surveys about Facebook losing their younger user base this could become a real problem.

Now the real question is does this mean that Facebook only continues to show paper growth as older users and lagards get into it and due to a few developing markets (Brazil etc.) but it’s not as important as it was 12-24 months ago as sites like Tumblr, Twitter etc. grow?

What do you think?


We often joke that the only thing you can be sure of in our team is that everything will change! The below kinda proves that point for large organisations: It really validates the “mission leadership” approach to management, where a … Continue reading

Dan Wieden on the future of TV and social

Really interesting interview:

What I find particularly smart is the view on broadcast media as a conversation starter. The message here is simple really: Integrated marketing works. 

Branding is dead, long live equity.

Today I read this, from Banksy:

I am not linking to it as I saw it on Facebook but am not sure of the source.

The point Banksy makes is a good one, and one that advertisers and brand managers need to think long and hard about… A few weeks ago I was speaking at social media week and pulled out an old quote from Radian6: “Your brand is just the sum of its conversations”. The 2 things are very closely linked, think about it… Brands have always been the sum of conversations, we have always made purchase decisions based on word of mouth, peer reviews and peer purchases, advertising has also helped to drive those decisions, drive our awareness and drive word of mouth, good advertising gets people talking.

But now we live in a world where people can edit, people can satire, people can distort, create and co-create in ways that even 10 years ago seem crazy and cost so little. What does that mean for our brands? It means that we all need to embrace the creativity of our customers and advocates, they create our brand, not brand managers, or agencies…

So we don’t build brands anymore, we can’t throw a tonne of money at creating a logo, creating an identity, a DNA and slick expressions of that in ATL that ensure success, particularly not in the ever more cynical western world. So what should we do? We should build equity! 

What do I mean?

I mean that we take the time and energy into diving into the communities that we want to appeal to and sell product to, we create content with them (not for them, with them) we build relationships with the community leaders and influencers, over time we learn about them and turn them into brand supporters and advocates, we let them define the brand with us, the products and everything!

This is not crowdsourcing it’s defining your brand and your identity with your communities.

I am not saying don’t buy ATL and don’t think about your brand, I am just saying do it differently.

The Facebook myth…

One in every seven minutes on the web are spent on Facebook, it is taking up 2.6m minutes each day. The reasoning then goes that because all our “consumers” are on Facebook we as brands have to be there too, OK, makes sense. Now, since our customers are there then why don’t we let them shop there? Why not put up a storefront inside Facebook!

This idea isn’t new, Pampers did it in 2010 and We Are Social did it with Heinz in 2011, and (according to the linked articles) this has had some great results.

But here is the thing: Just because people spend a lot of time on Facebook doesn’t mean it matters as an E-commerce or “F-commerce” channel… Think about how most of those 2.6m minutes each day are spent: Facebook will sit open in a tabbed browser, toward the back, with the user occasionally bringing it up to see what their mates just did or what they plan to do for lunch etc. Then think about mobile, according to that same Mashable article almost 40% of Facebook user time is now on smartphones, that is sure to rise, and Facebook mobile / Facebook apps do not have inbuilt adverts for your fans or target market to see and they cannot view those lovely iframed tabs your agency build for you on a smartphone! Bugger.

I like Facebook because I use it to connect with my friends, some people use it to connect with brands they’re passionate about, others like brands to get cheap stuff, free stuff, exclusive stuff (more on that in another post). Yes, some of these people are core consumers, they are often more likely to buy your stuff than random “man on the street” but your main goal should to be to enable and encourage this audience to become full on advocates creating buzz and recommendations for your products (the above Heinz and Pampers campaigns achieve that goal) through clever and targeted uses of F-commerce tools.

So the facebook myth is this: “We have to be looking at F-commerce selling stuff on Facebook because all our consumers are spending more and more time there so we have to come to them” – that’s rubbish. People use Facebook in a different way, see the wood from the trees, this all comes back to leveraging the loyalty and passion of genuine fans not building more storefronts.

I remember when I used to work at GAP when I was a teenager, we had friends and family days: We all got 30 tokens to give to our friends and it entitled them to 30% off at GAP over a given weekend… What about friends of fans days? – Same idea, different medium. – People who are passionate about a brand will want to share it, “introduce a friend schemes” have been around for years, isn’t facebook the most natural medium to supercharge this?

Some really simple thoughts but the message is: Don’t think about where to stick a storefront, think about how to empower your fans to sell your product for you, think about loyalty rewards, friends of fans discounts etc. – That, to me, is the future of “F-commerce”.

Is it time to unfollow EVERYTHING?

This week has been social media week and I have been busy. Partly because Nokia were the headline sponsor, doing lots of amazing things and partly because I have been talking on various panels about the future of social media and such things. here I am with guys from Ogilvy and Yorkshire tea talking about “the battle for attention” (I am on the panel, starting at about 30 mins, but listen to the Yorkshire Tea guy, he gives a good presentation.)

One point I have been raising all week is a trend beginning to unfold among my peers over the last 6-12 months, that of “unfollowing”: Initially this trend seemed to focus on younger females, I noticed a lot of people I went to uni with and people I knew from school begin to reduce their number of friends on Facebook dramatically, independently and from different social groups I noticed a lot of friends reduce from several hundred Facebook connections down to 50-100. – That was early to mid last year. Since then limited profiles have come up a lot more and, in short, people are being more picky about who they connect and share with. This has also been reflected in our industry: In September 2011 Chris Brogan unfollowed, well, everyone, in a “great unfollow experiment” several others did the same.

2 parallel but interlinked trends have driven this in my opinion: Firstly a greater desire for privacy and tales from across the world of people making asses of themselves, losing jobs or even getting stalked or robbed (!) due to a careless use of social networks, in short: People are now more picky about who they share with and what. The second is that as social networking matures people are more picky about what they want to see, do I really care what a guy I used to know in primary school is now doing for a living or that his cat is sick? – No, unfollow / unfriend… We all have too much info about everything anyway, why do I need more?

Now here is my question: When will this spread to brands… If I don’t care what a lot of real people are doing in social, why would I want to hear about a brand? Particularly a brand I don’t really care about, but I have “followed” or “liked” to enter a competition or get a store discount! – Will we begin to see more people clean house in the brands they follow and engage with? How can brands stop this or counter it?

Well, there are 3 approaches in my opinion:

1) stay relevant with content people want: People want discounts? OK, give them more! But wait… Then Facebook just becomes one giant coupon mail list, is that what you want? Is that what the promised land of social media has become?

2) Become a hub of amazing created and curated content: This has to be fun, it has to be emotionally resonant (make me laugh, cry or smile or feel something, so I share it!) and it has to be consistent, a lot of it. – This is nice but it’s a real brand play, how does this drive business value?

3) People: Forget garnering attention for yourselves, focus on your core fans and those people you want to make core fans and use personal relationships, engagements and offline events to build them into powerful advocates – People listen to people and buy from people so make people advocate your brand and you will thrive!

The Answer: At this stage it’s hard to say, but as with so many things a little of each, you drive direct business value with #1, brand value and engagement with #2 and you drive NPS, peer recommendation and all the above with the all important #3…

But most importantly: Ground everything you do (including your social strategy, if you have one) in this: “Does this activity add value to the community?” – Simple, but easy to forget…

As things get saturated it’s going to get tough out there, good luck!