‘Some of the very best communication campaigns are those that integrate effectiveness from the start’ CASE STUDY  

Effectiveness is all about the end result and to quite simply see if the work worked, if the ROI and spend was efficiently used and to show this in a measurable, undeniable format. It can be determined not only by figures such as sales, market share, profit margins but also brand perceptions, image and manifold effects. Although the latter is harder to measure, we can measure effectiveness through the use of brand tracking and economic studies. Amongst industry experts there is debate surrounding what makes the best campaign whether it be emotional attributions or ones that appeal to the rational side of our brain. Nevertheless, we can agree with the statement above and say that campaigns that consider effectiveness in their objectives from the start are usually successful. An example of this is the Baileys campaign by Diageo which I will later expand upon. 

Everything that is created for a communications campaign should be based on the strong, directional foundation of objectives. The three objectives to consider are business objectives which relate to tangible, quantifiable measures, marketing objectives which are determined based on the brand sector and communications objectives which could be things like image, likeability, or awareness. When setting these objectives, it is important to balance certain aspects in order to hit your targets. This includes being obvious but not too obvious with your messaging, reaching many people but not too frequently and targeting a relevant audience but not too niche. Also, one must remember that when measuring objectives especially communications, there is usually a benefit to looking at the short term and long-term difference. Another thing to consider when evaluating effectiveness is choosing the correct channels, regardless of your budget, which is why many choose digital (real time tracking to learn, modify and hence maximise effectiveness during the campaign). 

Baileys biggest market in Europe is Great Britain accounting for 12% of all profits. They are however only the third biggest brand, close behind Guinness and Smirnoff. They are also the most loved brand among women, but this paradoxically did not translate into the sales. This was evident because since 2010, their volume sales had been declining at a steady rate of 8% per year.  The main challenge of the brand is that being a cream liqueur, the drink is heavier and richer and so often drunk on fewer occasions and smaller volumes. There was an internal belief that Baileys had hit rock bottom, their time had passed and lowering their price seemed to be the only solution to drive sales.  

In order for the campaign to fix this, objectives were set with key specific challenges associated with them. These were to: 

  • Drive renewed internal belief at Diageo – One senior executive had even said “Baileys is like anchor, holding Diageo back” 
  • Increase versatility of the liqueur- Baileys was seen as one trick pony, poured only at festive times 
  • Reverse the decline in sales – The brand had an issue with latent love 

Whilst keeping these in mind, it was important to tackle them as efficiently as possible and deliver a benchmark-beating ROI. As a low priority brand in the portfolio, the challenge was set to beat the top ROIs in spirits. It was also vital to demonstrate true effectiveness by delivering a profit for Diageo and do so in the context of investment reduction. 

With so many objectives to hit, a multi-levelled strategy was developed. Firstly, it was to move Baileys from the niche cream liqueur category to the world of adults treats which offered far more potential and excitement especially with ‘insta-worthy’ sweet treats such as freakshakes. Secondly, budget was moved from massive one-off festival blockbusters to partnerships such as taste makers, social media investment and sponsorships enabling the brand to reach millions more and in new ways. However, the targeting was much more rigorous by identifying key moments for ‘indulge and relax at home’. Thirdly, Baileys repositioned themselves from empowering women in an almost patronising manner but to now becoming their spontaneous, delicious ally. Lastly, a new creative proposition was needed to refresh the old image which led to ‘Don’t mind if I Baileys’ being born. 

Constant review of performance before and during the campaign using Millward Brown Optimiser score allowed Diageo to track their progress and be confident that their approach was working with improvements every year. Looking back at the objectives, it is clear, they achieved their desired results. They were able to renew the brand internally with support of the campaign reaching the top of the company and investment increased worldwide, A millward brown study showed that 68% of consumers no longer saw Baileys as just a Christmas drink but now a versatile ingredient. Instead of just reversing the decline of sales, there were an increase of sales at 11% annually. In terms of quantifiable ROI, the total profit return was 110% and the total ROMI was 54%. The campaign outperformed expectations and smashed Diageo advertising ROI benchmarks delivering the highest ROI of any Diageo spirits in the EU. 

There are many things that can be learnt from this campaign as the whole thing was well thought through from conception to results but there were four key takeaways. Firstly, never be afraid to change yourself when you cannot change your surrounding (in this case category). Secondly, use a trigger model to reach more people more often. Thirdly, break down the strategy into bite-sized simple steps that can be easily understood by the whole team. Finally, always be looking to improve your campaign by monitoring change. 

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