Full CIPR submission for shortlisted Turton Middleton campaign
Turton Middleton is a marketing and advertising agency based in Norwich. It was formed in June 2007 from a merger between Turton Advertising – an established agency employing 16 people and Simon Middleton Company – a three man brand and creative thinking consultancy.
The original PR brief was to launch the new agency, raise awareness of its services in Norfolk and beyond and position Turton Middleton (TM) as a serious top three player worthy of a pitch brief.
With a small creative agency it was clear that PR opportunities would be fairly limited if we restricted our thinking to the traditional “agency wins” approach. We would struggle to get enough scale and gravitas to effect the step change in perceptions required.
During our initial discussions it became clear that Simon Middleton was a charismatic front man and that the new agency’s most profitable business was likely to come from his brand workshops. These often resulted in a rebranding brief, the job of implementing the new brand and, further creative work.
The company was planning to use the mission statement “Making Brands Work” to help differentiate them.
We researched brands and discovered just how newsworthy they could be and then looked at how the region’s press reported them. It was clear that they seldom covered brand stories and, if they did, they didn’t do them justice. Crucially, none of TM’s competitors were talking about brands – so there was an opportunity to bring brands to life and strongly differentiate TM.
We therefore created an issues based PR programme and positioned Simon Middleton as a “Brand Expert” and media commentator. Putting TM’s PR strategy at the front of the “agency supply chain” ensured it was as closely aligned to their business strategy as possible.
We created a set of media creds explaining Simon’s brand expert pedigree and set up a series of meetings to introduce him to local journalists.
We began to track and comment on a number of key stories directly affecting Norfolk brands including the Northern Rock/Virgin Money story and the troubles at Bernard Matthews.
We also researched and developed several smaller stories which became solid platforms for comment:
- Local rail franchise One Anglia replaced by ‘National Express East Anglia’
We commented on the story when the rebrand was first announced in November and briefed journalists again in advance of the actual change in February. As a result, we secured BBC, ITV Anglia and Radio Broadland.
- Rumours that Aviva was to drop the Norwich Union brand
We issued a statement to explain why Simon felt this was a good decision, albeit one that would be hard to stomach for the region. The line intrigued the media who loved the balance and the insight that Simon was able to give.
- The demise of the Campbell’s Soup brand
The closure of the Campbell’s Soup factory in Kings Lynn was a played out as a jobs story until Simon commented on the loss of an iconic brand and the media went into overdrive, including ITV Anglia.
Creativity – what makes the campaign stand out?
Thinking big: “if you talk about the big things, people think you are big” – Simon spent his time talking about blue-chip brands so TM was seen as a serious player. We also targeted ‘big’ media – securing over 20 items of TV and radio coverage.
Speed: we tracked every relevant brand story and brand index with the aim of turning around a line from Simon within two hours of a story breaking.
Relevance: we obtained the raw data for the top 500 brands listed in the 2007 and 2006 Superbrands survey and calculated the ups and downs of the region’s brands. The result was a far more interesting story for the local media and a platform for Simon to talk about the region’s “crown jewel brands”.
Joined-up communications: we advised TM to use the material we generated to create a client communication programme. The resulting e-mailer “brandNews” allowed TM to reinforce their key messages with their clients and prospects.
News out of nothing: we created an end of year story around Simon’s “Brands of the Year” and his “Ones to Watch in 2008”. We researched the region’s major brands to allow Simon to speculate on the big brand stories in the year ahead. The EDP gave up their centre spread to the story and Simon co-hosted the BBC Radio Norfolk Breakfast Show.
- We secured almost100 items of coverage, including four hours of broadcast coverage, three centre page spreads and a front page of the EDP Business section. In total, the coverage was worth in excess of £250,000 in Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE).
- Simon is now recognised and trusted as the region’s leading brand expert and a thought leader. Journalists now contact him for comment.
- He was invited to deliver the key-note speech at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s 2008 East of England Marketing Excellence Awards.
- TM won specific re-branding briefs such as Abel Homes, Norwich accountants Martin & Acock and law firm Hatch Brenner, leading online furniture retailer Pine Solutions and US kitchenware manufacturer VillaWare.
- TM also picked up a number of significant new clients with wider marketing briefs including Orchard Toys, Mitsubishi and Countrywide.
- Simon continues to attract new consultancy work under the Simon Middleton Company banner including prestigious speaking opportunities with Deloitte and Legal & General, as well as briefs for Norwich Union and Norfolk County Council.
- As a result, the agency has taken on seven new staff increasing their overall numbers by over a third.