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Author: Ross Sturley – CIMCIG Committee Member (@rosssturley)

Several of those honoured at the 2014 Construction Marketing Awards, presented earlier this month, show the effect branding can have on the bottom line.

Hepworth Clay picked up a commendation in the branding and positioning category at the 14th annual awards, hosted by CIMCIG. Their campaign sought to counter “the rise of plastic”, as the firm saw it, in the world of underground drainage pipes. It aimed to restate clay’s value and worthiness - in particular its sustainability, strength and durability – and to ignite growth for the product. Newsletter_CMABranding_Dec-14

One of the most difficult things to do in marketing is to change perception, but one of the best ways to do it is through careful branding and positioning. Hepworth’s work was creative – using clay’s archetypal colour and a clever, provocative visual concept – but the more important element was the strategic and calculated approach to messaging, pushing back at their plastic competition. 

Their results were spectacular, with every marketing pound spent returning more than £13 in sales – excellent return on investment (ROI), increasingly the way marketers justify their activity to the bean counters. 

Among the other winners at this year’s  CMAs changing perceptions through high quality marketing were Novus Property Solutions, who persuaded customers they could do much more than decorating with a new brand at the heart of their communications, and NHBC, who used an advertising campaign to show the value of their people and experience.

The winner of the branding category was Lakehouse, who, following a period of acquisition and consolidation, reorganised and realigned their brand, with stunning effect. They were already a successful support services business in the social housing, education and public building sectors, but the acquisition of K&T Heating and Allied Protection had created some tactical confusion and, they realised, highlighted the limitation of the then current brand strategy and identity. 

Their work aligning the disparate patchwork which often follows a trail of acquisitions went much deeper than the look and feel, and drove to the heart of the corporate personality, producing a unifying force internally and a unified face externally.

The campaign had a measurable impact on the group’s commercial performance. Since August 2013, K&T Heating has increased turnover by 38%, Allied Protection has increased turnover by 24% and the Lakehouse group as a whole has increased turnover by 31% - more amazing ROI to please the accountants.

Lakehouse, and the others mentioned, have approached branding as a crucial part of corporate strategy. The most successful entries also included an internal and external communications plan, aimed at achieving perceptual and behavioural change in staff and customers, alongside the more visible commercial measurements.  The message of these excellent campaigns is that branding can deliver serious bottom line benefit, as long as it is more than a repainting job.

To see all the winners and highly commended entrants of the 2014 CMAs click here.

What do you think makes a successful branding campaign? We want to hear your thoughts! Get in touch on our social media channels via the icons at the top of the page.

PHOTO: Best Branding and Positioning winners Lakehouse are pictured at the 2014 Construction Marketing Awards. ©CIMCIG 

Ross Sturley is principal at Chart Lane, a strategic communications company specialising in construction, property and regeneration, and a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group.

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