CASE HISTORIES

Prior to forming Town & Town, we ran a successful creative consultancy in London for many years. Here are just some of the problems we solved for our clients during that time.

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entertainment group brand review

The client's question

'The branding is a mess. We are going to lose market share if we don't do something. What do you suggest?

Background

It is a familiar story. Not all brand identities work out quite as planned. Once an identity has been launched and the guidelines published, you can find serious problems emerge after only a year or so.

The rigidity of the guidelines can stifle creativity and the product just no longer stands up to the competition or the branding objectives. Or maybe, at the other extreme, the design guidebook went out the window on day two and the whole image has degenerated into a visual mess with no form or continuity. This particular case presented a combination of both scenarios.

Our answer

The pressing issue was that new formats were coming onto the market and this entertainment group could not afford to miss out, so we started with the new products and used them to set an updated branding standard.

 Once we had dealt with the urgent items, we set about repackaging the bestsellers in the range and instigated a program that scheduled the updated brand identity implementations as products came up for reorder.

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new product identification

The client's question

'We are the market leaders in our core product area but growth is slowing and the shareholders still expect profits to keep improving. Have you any ideas that we can implement fairly quickly?'

Background

In this particular case the client already had a broad product range that gave it a dominant market position. All products were either manufactured by the client or supplied through a group subsidiary.

This gave them great strength and healthy margins, while years of double-digit high margin growth had led to an unquestioning belief in an ever-upward graph. Their problem was knowing where future growth would come from.

Our answer

Our solution was two-fold. Firstly, we introduced this international manufacturing client to the idea of sourcing products outside the group by presenting some competitive analysis research. Then we found complementary products that could be acquired and distributed through their existing channels.

The margins were lower but the structuring allowed the margin to drop to the bottom line. We chose products that could be easily branded, were used by the target group and fitted easily into the client's distribution structure.

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customer loyalty strategy

The client's question

'How can we justify a continuing premium for our programmes when there is so much downward pressure on price from a near-monopoly broadcaster?'

 Background

The producer had a successful mass-market product on their hands and a broad idea of who their consumers were but needed more information about them. They had to ensure that the consumers remained loyal and they also needed to maintain their margins.

This is an increasingly common problem as consumers cherry pick from an ever-growing range of media. Research is helpful but only satisfies one part of the objective as it fails to identify those individual subscribers to the producers.

Our answer

By creating a collectable loyalty offering, our client was able to learn far more about their consumers, retain and grow the consumer base and charge advertisers premium rates. It is now more important than ever for producers of content to identify individual consumers when they distribute through a third party.

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differentiation in a crowded market

The client's question

'We have to increase market share, we have to retain our existing distribution to reach all users and we are competing with other divisions of our own business. Is there an answer?'

Background

Our client was a major global manufacturer with a wide range of domestic, professional and industrial equipment. The situation was complicated as the same product was manufactured in different locations and the distribution method varied across all territories.

This created a two-fold problem. The grey import issue was the easier of the two to deal with but when competitive products appeared in markets made with components sourced from the client's own OEM division and marketed aggressively in direct competition to their existing resellers, something had to be done.

Our answer

We devised a range of product literature that emphasised the quality and pedigree of the products, heavily featuring guarantees and life-time service agreements and persuading the consumer that their authorised dealer had a lot more to offer over the parallel product bought through reputable but unauthorised dealer.

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restructuring

The client's question

'We have a situation here that is damaging our business. I have to have an immediate improvement in service and a long-term solution. Can that be done?'

 Background

Sometimes a radical restructure of an internal department is needed if the business is to change direction or new objectives are to be achieved. Changing things piecemeal has many disadvantages.

Once the need for change becomes apparent, staff turnover can increase, creating pressure to speed up recruitment. In addition, poor work practices can be carried forward from one generation of employees to the next.

Our answer

Challenging as it was, we were able to take over the entire function of a busy creative department, providing all personnel and meeting the high standard of service required by the Director, who was then able to step back and clarify the function and structure of the department. Once this was decided, time was taken to recruit high-calibre staff to take over the functions we were managing, one at a time.

The entire process took 15 months, at the end of which the department was functioning well and we were able to withdraw our services.

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out-sourcing creative services

The client's question

'Even if we could attract the right creative staff, which I doubt, we wouldn't know how many to recruit or how long we would need them. Could you take care of the work for us?'

Background

Launching new products or publications can be a challenging time. The initial workload during launch is very high but then it stabilises before it falls to a sustainable level.

The idea of out-sourcing such mission-critical service makes many clients nervous and experience and reliability are key requisites in any potential supplier.

Our answer

We were able to provide the creative and production services so that the client could manage the launch and, equally importantly, the development of five other publications.

We overcame the client's concern over so much of their material being out-sourced by keeping a database of all the materials used in the project up-to-date and immediately available to the client.

Through careful planning and strategies to keep to schedules despite the hand of chance, we succeeded in meeting every deadline over a period of seven years.

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international marketing support

The client's question

'We have a good market share at home but how can we capitalise on this in overseas markets without setting up offices in every capital?'

Background

Planning an international product identity is always a challenge, frequently complicated by the constraints of the product's country of origin.

It is only when products or services launched in the home country become a runaway successful that the global potential is realised. Some of the features that have contributed to a product's success in one market can work against it in others.

Our answer

We created a virtual European marketing centre for this North American software company. Using existing material as a base, the material was first 'Europeanised' and then made market-specific. Channel marketing was initiated by the client in each of the major European markets and supported by our service.

After the distribution contracts were set up, the client put us in direct contact with the wholesalers, who then ordered specific marketing materials tailored to their individual needs.

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addressing key opinion formers

The client's question

'How can you talk to highly educated opinion formers and earn their respect without advertising?'

Background

The client wanted to gain direct access to a group of highly educated senior executives in a range of technology-driven industries across many territories and countries.

This group were unlikely to respond to above-the-line advertising and direct mail was out of the question as many worked in classified areas.

Our answer

The challenge was to find a creative solution and produce material that would be both interesting and relevant to the target audience.

We achieved this by using an editorial format to create a forum in key subject areas; we then identified key influencers and sought their views.

The articles we produced were provocative yet authoritative and succeeded in bringing the client's name to the fore in the debate on key technologies.

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introducing new technologies

The client's question

'There is a ready market for this technology but by lowering the cost of doing business in this sector, do we risk threatening vital sectors of our own industry?'

Background

There are always clever solutions looking for problems to solve in the commercial world. They have a common driver and that is to create a competitive advantage for the user, either through price, ease of use or speed. In this case, our client's product had all three advantages; the problem was how to get it accepted.

When we were asked to prepare the groundwork for the launch of the client's new software range, we discovered that the product it threatened to undercut was produced by the very people we needed to evangelise it.

Our answer

We carefully planned and implemented two educationally-based promotional programmes. Firstly, through practical demonstration, we showed that this new technology could be easily mastered by a new group of users.

Secondly, we demonstrated to the incumbents that far from threatening their position, the market would grow and so could their range of services. Without their support, the product would never have succeeded.

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address different audiences simultaneously

The client's question

'We have to present complicated research results to both clients and users at the same time. How should we go about it?'

Background

Our client could have been forgiven for thinking that when they had completed one of the largest ever research programmes for a group of international media owners, their job was over.

The research had been paid for out of the budgets of media owners in many countries and the results had to be presented to them in an effective way if they were to use the findings and feel they had received good value for their investment. In addition, there was another lucrative audience for the results in the form of major advertisers.

Our answer

Our task was to devise a way of addressing all these audiences in a conducive business environment. We devised a complete multi-media road show using different delivery methods for the different types of information, with live-action video for the promotional message and animated graphics for the data.

The show visited five capitals in ten days. Not only a creative challenge, but a major logistical and management challenge too, and with the client's client present, there was no room for error.

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