Creating a brand from scratch is always a massive challenge. It means turning a blank page into solid architecture, through naming, a logo, a differential value proposition and positioning that provides value to the market through a unique personality. All this, while providing a WOW experience to the client at the same time. Then comes the big trial: launching the brand to market to make it take root, sharing its attributes and values, building notoriety to move forward in the conversion funnel, guaranteeing that the actions we take are coherent with our road map. In short, it is quite the adventure.
But this is not only applicable to newly-created brands. Many strong brands have travelled this journey several times over their lifespans because the market changes, and so do consumers. Opportunities arise in areas other than those initially considered. Cash Converters was founded in Australia in the 1980s and is specialised in the purchase-sale of second-hand items, in addition to offering additional services like micro-loans or recoverable sales. We experienced this adventure with them when they challenged us to define a data-based brand position to guide communication on all its channels beginning in 2019. Of course, we threw down our glove!
The starting point
The brand arrived in Spain in 1995. Today, it has 80 stores in the country, both owned by the brand and franchised, with another six in Portugal. The bulk of its business is generated in the physical stores, although its online store has grown in recent years, and was entirely redesigned in 2018. According to Sergio Pintado, the marketing director, Cash Converters’ main challenge lays in working to put the focus on the customer. This was a unique, yet extremely ambitious goal, since it meant modifying how decisions were made and executed for its 1,200 employees in Spain.
With this evolutionary process toward customer centricity, Cash Converters sought to build a new position to strengthen its leadership on the second-hand market, considering the needs of today’s consumers. In Pintado’s words, the emergence of new competitors in the second-hand sector with clearly-defined positions and a lack of homogeneity in brand identity in past years were other important reasons behind developing this new positioning, which should boost the second-hand giant’s competitive advantage.
The Good Rebels team began working on Cash Converters’ new positioning. To methodologically define the focus for building the brand from emotional and rational perspectives, we worked with Kevin Lane Keller’s Brand Equity model as a foundation. By understanding the different stages therein, we discovered the keys behind Cash Converters’ current position and laid the foundation for building its future position.
Analysing Cash Converters’ corporate identity
During the process’ first phase, the goal was to understand what Cash Converters was communicating through its own channels and the perceptions it was generating in the minds of its main stakeholders.
To this end, we studied several elements in Cash Converters’ corporate identity, such as the focus of communication and campaigns and rational and emotional elements used as purchase drivers, in addition to other aspects. With this in-depth analysis, we were able to confirm that the brand’s positioning had evolved in recent years. At the beginning of the decade, they sent flashy messages that caught the consumer’s attention, but did not reinforce the brand’s values. After this, they invested in creating a bond between the product and the client through emotional messages, keeping the humorous tone in all communications.
How stakeholders react to these messages
At the same time, we needed to understand the communication’s impact on different stakeholders (general audience, employees and franchises). This was essential to complete the analysis and obtain a broader view of how Cash Converters is perceived, both from the outside and from the inside.
We selected different analytical techniques for each one of the interest groups. Thus, for each source and each segment, we activated a specific analysis model so we could understand perception in terms of brand identity (who is Cash Converters), brand meaning (what is Cash Converters) and brand response (what feelings does Cash Converters generate).
After standardising all the information and studying the results, we evaluated different pathways to define the new positioning and unify the message sent by the brand at all points of contact with the customer.
Creating Cash Converters’ new positioning
To cover this phase, we developed several stages of work, beginning with possible brand areas to monitor. After this, we worked on understanding audience needs: current customers, customers from other second-hand sites and users who still are not second-hand customers. Lastly, based on these audiences’ needs, we defined attitudes.
“We designed a new brand positioning focus based on the key differentiating characteristics and needs of our audiences”.
These three steps allowed us to design a new brand positioning focus based on the key differentiating characteristics and needs of our audiences. We defined a positioning that was broader than they had in the past decade, so we could build the brand’s values around the company’s financial services. We discovered that, as people, we do not seek guarantees and immediacy (the two main attributes in the value proposition) just because. Rather, when we seek to obtain money or a product related to these attributes, it is because there is underlying excitement. Cash Converters is the place to grow our excitement, since it offers the possibility to purchase something you wanted or obtain the money you needed (through its financial solutions) that you can now enjoy.
We followed this line of thought with strict methodology, studying data to guide the creative work and the different stages of work. This led us to finally materialise the brand’s positioning: “Cash Converters, where money brings happiness”. Based on this analysis, we drew up a brand manifesto that was applied both internally and externally. We also reviewed the tone of voice and personalised messages on different Cash Converters channels, services and products. Additionally, we had the opportunity to transfer this entire process to television with several different commercials.
Change almost always entails risk and opportunity. However, what is occurring in the business world shows that we are standing before a key moment for brands: in the words of Nigel Hollis, author of the book The Global Brand, only those that stand out from the rest and build elements that make them significantly different will have an influence on the minds of people who are selecting a brand.