It’s turned cold and wet outside – pretty miserable. Par for the course for this time of year, I guess. Have you thought about the year ahead and your next brand campaign yet. Are you stuck in a world of warm procrastination or simply worried about Brexit?

It doesn’t have to be this way.
As business owners we thrive on success, being in the here and now, relishing a challenge and looking towards future growth. So, why not plan now to make your re-brand or new product launch a real sizzler in twenty 17.

Why not have some fun and turn up the heat on your competition. Put them on the back foot with a product launch that will make them go, “WOW!” or “we weren’t expecting that, from them!”

That’s exactly what happened back in the autumn of 1994. We were approached by Potterton Myson and asked to put the ‘heat’ on the internal sales teams of British Gas Showrooms in the Midlands region.

The brief was to get staff to shift more Potterton Myson products by incentivising them to sell more and in return reap the benefits of their labours with non-cash remuneration benefits. The key was to get them ignited, excited and emotionally involved about two specific products The ‘Illusion’ and The ‘Stratton’ gas fires.

A cut and paste ‘blackmail’ style campaign ensued…

Hand typed copy, typewriter script and images were created, then each individual element and letter was stuck down on paper with glue to spell out the plot. To reproduce these messages in quantity, they were then photographed and designed to create various printed, themed elements. These were carefully choreographed and in some cases aimed at individuals to make the campaign feel real and personal. It was all about intrigue, bribery and a little bit of bullying by Potterton Myson – the big brother!

To elaborate…
A direct mailing campaign was set up. This contained a four-page ‘blackmail’ note which introduced the programme and cajoled the sales staff quite forcibly “to get the low down, do the business and spill the beans” on the two products. Accompanied with that was a question and answer sheet for each product, containing the questions to which the sales team plotted their answers.

All they had to do then was hand over their answer sheets to their showroom boss. Potterton Myson would then pick one winning showroom per area with the most correct answers and two bottles of wine would be divvied out to each member of staff. There was even a disclaimer that stated, “any tax liability arising from participating in this competition is entirely the liability of the punter – so don’t get your collar felt by the Inland Revenue!”

A nice little earner in the run up to Christmas with a short, sharp promotional period of just one month.
Hold up.. a little twist.
There was a chance to get into the spirit of the game and for the participants to ‘Get Smart’. The management were prepared to “buy them off”. All those playing along with the scheme had to do to win a champagne prize was enter a winning blackmail stylised letter, mention the fires and they’d win the loot!

What fun!
The entries rolled in as did the answer sheets and sales of the two fires were up 17% for that particular accounting period, compared to the previous year.

The components to put this ‘blackmail’ game together were these:
• A clearly defined theme, instructions and goals to achieve
• Imaginative copy writing skills
• Artworking skills to type set headings and body copy
• The patience to cut out each heading’s individual letters and chunks of body copy, stick them to paper, along with visual elements to bring the plot to life
• Office stationery – glue, scalpels, scissors, masking tape, paper clips and paper
• Creative photography of the products to sell and the prizes to be won
• Litho print capabilities and fulfilment ability to mail out to all the main area managers
• Collation of entries and the safe delivery of all prizes to the lucky winners.

If you’re a CEO I guess you’d love to get one over on the competition in twenty 17, put them in the shade and crush their sales ethic with something new, vibrant and different. So, don’t smell and taste like the competition – disrupt the normal flow with what we like to call ‘a pattern interrupt’.

It’s that ‘Colombo’ moment, when everything that was clouded and a mystery, suddenly becomes clear and the truth is out. Why not invite us in to discuss your ambitions and if we make it through the process who knows, you might be the hottest rock on the block in twenty 17.