Rebuilding your brand for a human centred world

Daniel Díez

7 March 2019

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Creating a brand from scratch is a huge challenge. You start with a basic foundation, and then you’re tasked with building up an entire architecture which encompasses branding, iconography, positioning, personality, tone of voice, and look and feel. Then we have to consider how this architecture will affect the consumer/client experience. Finally, it’s time to launch. We test our new brand, work towards strengthening it, communicate our attributes and values with the public, start our journey through the funnel by building up brand awareness (consideration, preference, conversion), ensure that all actions taken are in line with the framework we’ve proposed…in short, it’s an adventure.

But this only applies to those brands that are brand new on the marketing – what about big brands, with an already established reputation, looking to reposition themselves.

This is the challenge Cash Converters faced when they came to Good Rebels and asked for our help in developing a data-driven, repositioning strategy – designed to guide communications across all channels.

The background

Cash Converters was founded in Australia in the 1980s – their speciality was purchasing and reselling second hand goods. The majority of their sales take place in physical stores, although the e-commerce side of their business has been growing in recent years, following a 2018 redesign. In addition, Cash Converters offers other, complementary services such as microcredits and pawnbroking.

As Sergio Pintado, Marketing Director at Cash Converters, explained, “The main challenge the company has is to position the customer at the centre. It is a unique but ambitious goal, since executing tasks and decisions based on the client in a company of 1,200 employees is complicated and challenging.”  

During this process of evolving towards a more customer centric business model, Cash Converters wanted to reposition their brand in a way that would strengthen their presence in the second hand sector, while taking into account the needs of the modern consumer. According to Pintado, “The emergence of new competitors in the second hand sector with very defined positions and the loss of identity communicated by Cash Converters during the last few years,” was another reason brand repositioning in order to remain competitive was so important.

The Good Rebels team began work on defining this new positioning, following an in-depth analysis and definition process:

  1. Communicated positioning: first, we worked towards understanding the brand values, offers and ethos communicated by Cash Convertors across different platforms.
  2. Received positioning: our second task was to fully understand the associated brand attributes, the different sales drivers, differences and advantages Cash Converters held over their competitors.
  3. Desired positioning: finally, we developed a new positioning model that Cash Converters could apply within an omnichannel context.

To determine the best brand building approach, from both an emotional and a rational perspective, we used Kevin Lane Keller’s Brand Equity model as our basis. By understanding each stage of the positioning pyramid, it became possible to lay the foundation for future positioning.

The Keller Brand Equity Model

Work methodology

Our goal, during this first stage, was to understand what was being communicated by Cash Converters’ owned media, and how main stakeholders perceived the brand.

During the communicated identity analysis stage, we focused on a number of elements, including:

  • Focus of communications
  • Approach to campaigns and communications
  • Tone of voice
  • Possible positioning paths
  • Client focus on buying and selling
  • Product focus
  • Approach to sales within physical stores and online
  • Driving sales with rational incentives, e.g. competitive pricing
  • How emotional marketing is used to generate positive brand awareness and associations

Through this process, we realised that Cash Converters positioning had been evolving in recent years. At the beginning of this decade, they designed risky campaigns and communications which broke with established tone of voice, and helped them to reposition themselves within a challenging market. They caught people’s attention, but this approach did not help them to build brand values. Subsequently, it was decided that in order to build a stronger relationship with their audience, Cash Converters would have to focus on creating links between consumer and product through emotion based marketing – they needed to inject a bit of personality and humour into their communications.

Understanding the impact these communications had on different stakeholders was key in offering a broader perspective on how Cash Converters was perceived, both externally and internally – by general audiences, consumers, employees and franchises.

We used a number of different analysis techniques in order to gather relevant information – interviews, surveys, analysis of reviews, social monitoring. For each source and each segment, we activated an analysis model with the goal of understanding perception in terms of brand identity (who are ‘Cash Converters’?), brand meaning (what do ‘Cash Converters’ do?), and brand response (what feelings do Cash Converters generate in their audience?).

After standardising all this information and studying the results of our analysis, we proceed to evaluate the different ways in which we could define a new positioning for Cash Converters, with a focus on unifying all brand communications across all channels.

There were three steps involved in this definition stage:

  • Choosing a positioning path
  • Understanding the needs of the audience: current consumers, consumers who buy from competitors, and potential consumers.
  • Definition of attitudes based on the needs of the audience.

These three steps led us to a new brand positioning approach based a key differentiators, and the needs of our audiences. A brand manifesto was developed, based on this analysis, and was applied both internally and externally. Cash Converters’ reviewed their tone of voice, and defined which tones were best suited to each online and offline channel.

Change always involves risk – but there’s always the opportunity that risk will pay off, big time. However, globally and across all sectors we’re seeing the same pattern emerge -only those brands that take a risk and do something to differentiate themselves from their competitors, will create something meaningful. In the words of Nigel Hollis, author of ‘The Global Brand’, “consumers are still drawn to brands that have meaning and stand out from the crowd.”