Uncommon Creative Studio won the “Rebrand or Relaunch Strategy of the Year” category at the Drum Awards for Marketing with its “Build a life” campaign for B&Q. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveals the secrets of this successful project …
B&Q is the UK’s largest home improvement retailer and the third largest in the world. It’s a massive undertaking on almost every metric. However, in his 50th year, the problems were brewing. The position of the giant in hearts and minds was diminishing.
Over a period of several years, the brand’s vital signs were in gradual decline. Brand metrics were underperforming. The brand’s diminishing stature couldn’t have come at a worse time. In 2018, the brand was no longer just competing with its traditional competitors (“renovation sheds”) but with brands perfectly positioned to exploit the diminishing stature of a leader.
On the one hand, we had a major online competitor, with its wide range and quick convenience, was able to attract consumers with little connection to the category. On the flip side, startups with deep vertical expertise were in a better position to attract consumers who wanted a little excitement. And so the deterioration in the health of the brand affected the bottom line. Like-for-like sales were down and B&Q owner Kingfisher discontinued the FTSE100 in early 2020.
It was clear that B&Q needed to reclaim its place in hearts and minds. In fact, the CEO summed up our brief in one sentence: “Help B&Q get its mojo back. “
The best brands don’t just claim a place in their category. They gain a place in culture. If we were to rebuild the relationship between B&Q and home improvement companies, we had to look beyond price and product to understand the brand’s true potential, not only as a product seller, but as part of the country. .
The home improvement category was generally considered to be a category of household chores. B&Q competitors talk about home improvement as an exercise in fixing what is broken or beautifying what is inadequate.
Strategically, it seemed strange. Because we knew that people don’t tend to think of our homes as inadequate or faulty; as anthropologist Kate Fox wrote, we see them as reflections of who we are. But it was my home. What about home improvement? Was it that emotional?
We have spent some serious time in the homes of the clients. We have heard them tell their stories. And we realized that home improvement isn’t just about “fixing” – it’s almost all about “creating”. What do we buy when we buy paint? What do we do when we repair our garden? So much more than anyone ever says. It’s not just chores.
Plants reinvent a terrace and make it the summer scene. A paint bucket sets the mood of a room and therefore the stories it will witness. A new kitchen inspires new family rituals. Making things better at home also makes our lives better. Home improvement is progress. The whole category lacked the power of this business.
We needed to take B&Q away from housework and put them in the area of change. Home improvement isn’t about what you fix, it’s about what you start. If life begins at home, B&Q is the brand with the tools and the know-how to help you build yours. The company’s core belief – sometimes forgotten in more product-oriented communications – is that anyone can improve their home to make life better.
We captured that in a new brand role: B&Q exists to help you build a life.
Capturing real-life moments, using archival footage of real people, to portray a true portrait of British homes and how they have been improved over the years – seemed like the truest representation of our idea.
We launched with a film, for television and online media, showing clips of 69 families across the 69 cities that make up the UK. Real families, found through an exhaustive casting process. In the film, we see the ups and downs of home living and how home improvement can shape them.
The brand’s ubiquitous and eye-catching slogan – “You Can Do It When You B&Q It” – has changed to the simple, deep and empowering “You Can Do It”.
OOH was another key pillar of the campaign. We showed a range of B&Q products, seemingly everyday items, enhanced with a title that highlighted a universal emotional truth related to that item. Everything else has been stripped away – everything you see is a simple object and an emotional message far from simple. Create powerful tension.
The campaign was supported on online and social channels – a truly integrated launch. And that’s just the beginning. It was not a brand that disguised itself as intentional. “Build A Life” went to the heart of the business, not just marketing. We’ve shown that a large retail business doesn’t have to be all about supply chains, product mix, and value for money. Supporting something more can increase your value to customers, not just entice them to buy.
We have significantly increased the stature of the company in just a few months. The immediate response from our audience has been extremely promising. It quickly became clear that we had struck a chord with the nation. As one person who had seen our TV spot on Twitter put it, “why does the new B&Q ad make me emotional?”
While not the most significant result, it received immediate and widespread industry recognition in the UK and beyond, with Editor’s Picks in Campaign and AdAge, for n ‘name just two. Then the full results started to arrive. We started to see our brand metrics climb quickly to the top.
The main emotional associations with B&Q have grown rapidly. Of those who saw our ad, the number of those who agreed “B&Q thinks everyone can improve their home” increased by 10 points to 80%. And the agreement that B&Q believed that “improving your home can make life better” increased by 7%. It was clear that our message had landed. But that was not all.
The total number of spontaneous project associations (an indicator of spontaneous awareness of B&Q) increased by nine points to reach 78%. The growth in associations with individual home improvement projects was also staggering – 43% of movers associated interior design (a critical category for the business) with B&Q, an extraordinary 15% increase since launching the countryside.
Overall purchasing consideration increased by one percentage point, reversing a downward trend that lasted for several years. Merely stopping the decline would have indicated a successful campaign. A turnaround in such a short time has been a spectacular result.
And preference (a new metric installed at the start of this campaign) has increased by three points in just six months. Emotional resonance, a measure of how close people are to the brand, also increased by three points.
We hope ‘Build a Life’ has shown that there is no such thing as a purely rational category. We took a category of chores and chores and found the emotional truth behind it.
This project was a winner of the Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which Drum Awards competitions are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.