When Rebecca Brock joined Homebase as brand controller in 2009, it was facing significant challenges. Overshadowed by major competitor B&Q, it was being overlooked by consumers who perceived the brand as expensive and offering a limited range of goods.
Last year Brock, who is responsible for brand strategy, customer communication and design, put Homebase squarely on the path to recovery with an integrated campaign that not only changed customer perceptions of the brand, but also perceptions within the company toward the merits of brand-led marketing.
The drive, entitled 'Transform the nation', was a huge undertaking that demanded a significant sea change for the business, by diverting budget away from the proven success of its price and promotion focus, to brand activity.
It also involved Homebase's first use of Facebook, experiential, blogger outreach and media partnerships. Brock not only won management buy-in to this directional shift, but also developed and delivered the campaign in just five months.
Customer research had revealed that consumers lacked confidence in their own ability to design a room. So, to position Homebase as the brand to turn to for help, over Easter last year Brock's team transformed Carlisle railway station, creating an eye-catching garden and kitchen, and painting a bridge. The team filmed people's responses for a TV ad, with Brock then taking the campaign through the line to engage people more deeply across multiple touchpoints.
As well as using Facebook and blogger outreach, activity included tie-ups with The Mail on Sunday and the Living, Dave and Home channels, which ran a three-month campaign asking people to nominate somewhere to be transformed by the brand.
Homebase's transformation of the winning location, Acorns Children's Hospice in Walsall, was filmed and shown on the channels.
The campaign triggered a consumer reappraisal of Homebase, repositioning it as a place with a great product range that is full of ideas for the home.
It became the brand's most effective to date, delivering the highest ROI for an Easter peak campaign and driving incremental value of 12% compared with 2009. The icing on the cake was that the ad came 11th in ITV's viewer-nominated Top 20 Adverts of 2010.
The campaign's success also changed attitudes within the organisation, with trading directors talking about the need to tell stories other than just price and promotion, and senior managers more confident about using non-traditional media channels.
It is testament to Brock's standing that she was subsequently entrusted with leading a review of the 2011 marketing budget.
Gurdeep Loyal (Innocent Kids brand manager, Innocent Drinks)
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