Swot’s new? Cool brands

After almost ten years of success The SWOT Awards have been re-branded and re-launched as The Drum Marketing Awards 2009.

A new identity for The Drum Marketing Awards has already been created by Edinburgh and Manchester-based design consultancy Tayburn, which aims to encourage clients and agencies who have implemented winning marketing strategies that really work to shout about their achievements.

The marketing campaign that will support the re-launch of the awards will also encourage clients and agencies to cut the marketing speak and talk about the great work they have done over the past year and reveal some of the results they achieved.

Speaking of the re-branding Diane Young, managing director of The Drum and organiser of The Drum Marketing Awards, said: “We first got involved in the SWOT Awards in 1999. Since then it has developed over the years and this year, when we were reviewing the event, we felt that the name could be more up to date and that we needed to freshen up the brand.

“The name change to The Drum Marketing Awards came about as we felt that it would strengthen the value of the awards to the winners if it was more closely associated with The Drum.

“One of the key benefits of being nominated for The Drum Marketing Awards is the coverage that is gained in the magazine and online. And, of course, the catchment area for the awards is now the same as that of The Drum – all of the UK outside London.”

Since The SWOT Awards launched in the late-90’s companies and brands such as British Airways, ghd, Phones 4 U, Arla Foods, Marshalls, Fisherman’s Friend, Fox’s Biscuits, Turtle Wax, Kingston Communications and Focus DIY have all scooped accolades.

The re-brand to The Drum Marketing Awards also comes at a time of huge change for the marketing sector as consumer demands continue to change in an uncertain economical climate, client demands continue to diversify into many other areas of the marketing arena and, ultimately, new technologies enable clients and agencies alike to measure ROI more closely than ever before.

Speaking of the new identity Simon Farrell, managing director of Tayburn said: “The real opportunity for the SWOT Awards is to become a credible symbol of marketing excellence. For too long the award scheme has been promoted using quirky gimmicks and tongue in cheek language that undermines the hard work that goes into the strategies and campaigns that win these awards and the effort that goes into writing the submission.

“Our approach has been to cut through the creative veneer and get to the heart of these awards. Any marketer can say they’ve created a great strategy because they have used lots of jargon. Any agency can say they’ve created a great campaign because it looks nice. Very few can prove what they’ve done worked.

“Our new positioning for The Drum Marketing Awards is trying to appeal to those talented few who can do just that...prove it. Straightforward, no nonsense, effective marketing.”

There will be five main strands to The Drum Marketing Awards 2009, giving companies and brands of all sizes the opportunity to gain the recognition that they deserve.

The five strands, which will incorporate a wide range of marketing categories, are:

The team Awards:

The individual Awards:

The Brands Awards:

The marketing skills awards

The Cool Brands

With the economic climate being particularly challenging at the moment it is anticipated that many major UK brands will be looking at a wide ranging of marketing techniques to retain their market share. A judging panel of senior brand marketers will be put together to judge all the entries, details of which will be revealed in coming issues of The Drum.

Entry forms to The Drum Marketing Awards will hit desks across the UK in the coming weeks, but to ensure that you don’t miss your chance to take part contact Kim Baran on 0141 559 6078 or email her at kim.baran@carnyx.com to register your interest.

As part of the re-brand of the SWOT Awards a new section has been introduced to The Drum Marketing Awards, which aim to reward the many ‘Cool Brands’ that are now emerging right across the UK.

This section will sit alongside the main sections as detailed below, but will be judged in a more interactive way, which aims to get the whole marketing community across the UK involved. In the coming issues The Drum will be publishing lists of ‘Cool Brands’ based outside London, which have been nominated by members of the marketing community across the UK. Readers of The Drum will then be invited to visit a special website every fortnight where they will be able to vote for the brands which they think are the ‘coolest’ in each of our industry sectors:

Financial Services Construction & Property Retail

Food & Drink Fashion Leisure & Tourism

Media & Digital Manufacturing & Industrial

Getting the first stage of the Cool Brand research underway in this issue, we are inviting you to let us know which brand you think is the coolest brand in the Retail Sector.

The Retail Sector candidates include: (You are also invited to nominate others)

Black & Lizars Boudiche Bench

Clarks Shoes Cruise Fat Face

Foot Asylum Gadget Shop Game

Lime Blue Lush Next

Superdry Tiso USC

Once all the votes are collated, the judging panel for The Drum Marketing Awards 2008 will decide which are the UK’s Coolest Brands, the results of which will be announced at The Drum Marketing Awards 2009, which will take place in April 2009.


So, what makes a brand cool?

‘Cool’ is defined in the dictionary as great, fine, excellent, socially adept. However, when applied to marketing, can we define what makes a brand cool? Is it slick packaging, news headlines, a great website, celebrity endorsements, a clever slogan or just word of mouth?

In truth, if a formula could be developed to guarantee a brand could hit the heights of coolness, it would be a combination of all these elements coupled with perfect timing.

The magic formula? Back to basics

As with good marketing practice, a brand has to deliver a clear consumer benefit appreciated by the target market in a better way than currently exists. It is this basic principle that will pave the way for a brand to become cool; without the foundations the brand is unlikely to succeed in the first place. Three fundamentals for a successful brand are:

1. Good Packaging

Great branding, strong standout and, for some brands, breaking the category rules to ensure they impact upon the consumer as a new and innovative offering are key.

2. Appropriate Distribution/Availability

New brands can break through quickly by sourcing credible distribution; finding a brand in the right kind of outlet can be very important in building early credentials.

3. Integrated Communication

In an ideal world large budgets facilitate a wide spread of media. In reality many brands operate on small budgets but can still gain a high share of voice using a variety of relevant media and integrating this communication well. Concurrent online, press and endorsement activity maximises results.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, coolness is in the eye of the consumer. Coolness is determined by the consumer not the manufacturer; corporations with large marketing budgets, however hard they try, cannot dictate this. Whilst all of the elements can be in place, as history has shown, cool brands will come just as often from small companies and entrepreneurs. The playing field is level because cool isn’t about how much is being spent, it is about how the brand is satisfying the consumer need and how prepared the consumer is to spread the word and endorse it.

Coolness is the ultimate accolade for a brand – to deem it cool the target market is recognising that it is delivering at all levels. However, there is as ever a cautionary note: once the dizzy heights of coolness have been reached, for some brands their time at the top is limited with an all too eager queue of newcomers ready to knock it off of its pedestal. The flip side of cool is not so attractive; an uncool brand is a hard proposition to market.

Written by Jo Halliday of ThreeSixty Brands.

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