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PITCH BITCH How we tried and failed to win a wellness company’s business.

The material in this document was prepared in response to a request for a proposal made by Hardy’s Health Stores in New Zealand. Hardy’s approached an advertising agency who then asked MacGregor Media to supply the creative startegy and direction. The client allowed one week for submissions, so the direction and concepts were quickly prepared to show a possible approach, rather than a ‘correct’ solution. We had very little documentary material to work from and relied on experience. Maybe that’s where we went wrong. The pitch was not successful. The client, ultimately did not appoint a new agency, but continued with their existing supplier. Oh well…you win some, you don’t win ‘em all.

If you are an ad agency, comms firm or design agency MacGregor Media can help with your pitches. If you are a marketer and want to take a freah look at your business without putting it out for pitch…

©Copyright notice. The concepts in this document are copyright - MacGregor Media Limited 2013

Hardy’s Health Stores Initial Thoughts for Discussion

This presentation has been developed to demonstrate to Hardy’s Health Stores how we might approach the task of promoting the brand and increase sales.

Key points Brand Strategy The task of creating retail results is our primary focus, but this will only be achieved by creating a positioning that is salient for customers, highly differentiated and clearly addresses the behavioural and attitudinal issues relating not only to health and well-being, but also shopper habits. Brand is the platform on which to build tactical engagement.

Supporting the system As a franchise system the enthusiasm of the existing business owners is a key consideration - not only to grow same-store sales but to assist in the growth of the network.

Amplifying the message - doing more with less. While Hardy’s might have fewer promotional resources than big supermarket and pharmacy brands it does have the advantage of owning the environment and having a motivated, expert workforce that can forge real experiences and relationships with customers. We have also considered simple strategies to use earned and owned media to leverage your investment in high reach mass media.

The Brand

The critical point of difference for the Hardy’s Brand is its retail presence. The stores specialise in health and well-being and are staffed by knowledgable professional sales people whose sole focus is matching the customer to the right product solution that is specific to their needs. The competitive set includes supermarkets, pharmacy and, (to some extent personal sales from Amway and Reliv etc.)

Why would you buy health and well-being products from a place that also sells cigarettes and soda? The shopper marketing process for a Hardy’s customer is quite different to that of a supermarket shopper. A person buying dietary supplements from the grocery store is making a less considered purchase. The lack of advice can create a tension (given the high cost of the item - relative to the cost of the entire food ‘basket’). Hardy’s is a destination shopping experience. It may not be as convenient, but the opportunity is to have a more satisfying experience - and one that can be more easily justified persuading the customer that they deserve better (“I’m worth it”) is key. Accomplishing this repositions the competition as risky or inferior.

Customers of Hardy’s aren’t high-end luxury goods consumers. 30 -49 they are bringing up families, they are often the primary care-giver, aside from unpaid work at home they also work jobs . Getting sick isn’t an option. Staying well and looking good are not only utilitarian - they are also sources of self-esteem. A wellness regime can also be a rewarding activity

Keep it real that is affirmative - “I do everything for others - I’m doing this for me.”

Time poor people don’t want to have to figure out complex information. They don’t want absurd claims - they aren’t fools. TASKS FOR MEDIA - MEDIA FOR TASKS Don’t overload every communication with information. In-store is the ultimate venue for interactivity - attempting to Replicate or replace in other media (e.g. loses the authenticity of the real experience).

Tamara is 42. Mother of three kids between eight and 17. Senior neo-natal intensive care nurse. People rely on her. And she’s not ready to give up on looking her best.


You a the vi ingred

are ital dient

Avoid tropes and clichés

The health and well-being category is filled with visual cliché - to the extent that brand communications cancel each other out. We need to find distinctive ways of creating a visual brand language that is unmistakeably Hardy’s, ultra clear about what is being communicated and what behaviour or change is expected from the consumer.

Sample Ad

Cold & Flu

The purpose of the mockups in this presentation are to suggest a simple, flexible visual language that makes the message obviously from Hardy’s Health Stores. The idea is to pick up on the circle if the logo and create a flexible palette that might suggest chemistry or science, but is also bright, eye catching and distinctive. We’ve kept the visuals basic - they are not finished art or design work - just directional to get the idea across. We are keen to recommend something that avoids the cheesy, bland clichés of the category

Sample Ad

Skin Care

Sample Ad

Weight Loss

Motivating, inspiring and Recruiting franchisees. The passion of the people who represent the

Increasing same-store sales will make a signif-

Hardy’s business are the secret weapon.

icant contribution to the sales increase objec-

They connect every day with the people who

tive. Our experience with retail franchises has

share their problems.

demonstrated how incremental improvements can deliver exponential returns. One client, a

Advertising and other parts of the marketing mix

coffee shop franchise grew same store sales

can help bring customers over the threshold. It

significantly by implementing a simple recom-

is the commitment, expertise and excitement

mendation - by training serving staff to ask if

of the franchise owners and their teams who

customers enjoyed their coffee when clearing

will convert customers into ‘raving fans’ - to

cups and plates away made a dramatic differ-

quote the management consultant and author

ence to the bottom line. If the customer said

Tom Peters.

‘yes’, the staff member would simply ask if they would like another. Not a high pressure

Acknowledging and supporting their efforts

sales pitch, just an offer to serve. If just 15% of

is as crucial as the quality of the location, the

customers said yes the impact was dramatic -

branding and promise of advertising.

tens of thousands of dollars in increased sales per store. Not recruiting a new customer. Not

We call it The H Factor - riffing on the popular

increasing the size of the store. Nothing more

TV format the searches for talent.

dramatic than simply making the customer feel more welcome.

Our recommendation is that a portion of the budget allocated for franchise development

How many opportunities exist in every transaction

go into creating channels and promotions

with the customer? We think the opportunity it to

to educate, inspire and motivate the human

learn from the coal-face - share - acknowledge -

capital of the organisation to communicate

reward. Make Hardy’s folk a force to be reckoned

brand activity and to engage their ideas and


resources. With the natural consequence that the brand - Sharing ideas and news/experiences

will be a hot choice in the franchise market.

- Be Passionate

We want to help create a virtuous cycle where

- Be Real

customers needs are met. Existing franchisees are thrilled and an orderly queue forms for new stores. 15% growth?...Nothing!

Doing More with less Amplifying the message. Every marketer has their own set of challenges. Because competitors rely on supermarkets for sales of their mainstream brand they are subject to the whims of the store owners where and how the product is merchandised etc.. But they are also bound to commit large sums to advertising their products and brand. Because they have a product whose value resides in information, they are bound to pay to communicate the differences in their products through non-personal media (brand advertising, 3rd party advertising like Family Health Diary and the web - if you look at the competitor’s site there is a self diagnosis tool that cost a fortune but delivers a very nominal value to the user. They are a volume manufacturer and marketer. They have costs in product development, making, distribution, advertising that are onerous. The environment they sell in relies on huge volume - the up-side of their model is that grocery chains deliver customers.

So the strength of the Hardy’s brand is also its relative weakness. It is quite small. Even in the heart of Auckland City (Downtown Mall) it can seem like a ‘mom & pop’ store - though the branding is strong and has the potential to scale (an LA. Superstore isn’t an unreasonable proposition). The key to Hardy’s’ success is to be perceived as more helpful. By stocking recognised products and brands - as it does - but adding a layer of personal expertise and connection with the customer a new layer of opportunity presents itself. That’s why the language of Hardy’s always has to be personal - You are the vital ingredient (implies service - getting under the customer; and the idea that every customer has a different requirement that they might not even know. The consultant in the store will help them diagnose their conditions and prescribe solutions. The brief references Apple. Apple had to redefine retail - and they had a vertical integration that Hardy’s doesn’t have. But there are elements worth emulating - one of the most important for Hardy’s is the idea of The Genius Bar.

The Genius Bar was genius. The point wasn’t that the customer service staff were geniuses - but with training, great products to sell and enthusiasm for solving customer problems the customers consider them to be geniuses. A virtuous cycle. When a customer comes into a Hardy’s Health Store and a consultant or sales associate shows some interest in what concerns them the potential is enormous. All things being equal - staff know their stuff - the opportunity to extract lifetime value has begun.

We’re delighted you are investing in CRM systems. We’re impressed you have more than 2,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook. They are steps in the right direction. We don’t believe a whizzbang ad campaign is going to change your fortunes. Though ads should be part of the conversation.

We believe strongly in leveraging the assets you have already invested in. You’re a retailer. Point of sale is a crucial asset. New customers are ignoring you every day walking by because they’ve formed an opinion about your brand already. Maybe it’s derogatory? ‘Quackery, …not for me.’ But we believe that ‘No’ usually means ‘not right now’. It sounds vulgar, but no one wants to hear about haemorrhoid remedies - until they have haemorrhoids. It is important to stay relevant.

Part of maintaining relevance is through the retail calendar. Late spring is weight-loss time (bikini body), spring/summer is wedding season - skin care and weight loss, New Years is smoking cessation, weight loss and any other bad habit you can think of. Winter is colds and flu (which are clinically impossible to prevent - but never let that get on the way of the ‘worried well’). The only problem with the retail calendar is that you and every other player in the category will be concentrating their efforts - so it becomes a free-for-all. So...

Dig Your Well We Before Y Need Th Water.

r ell You he

Engaging with customers via Content Marketing is the slow-burn of marketing communications. Yes you want to convert to a sale, but the media economics are different. Paying for TV time is expensive. Do it right - it works. The waste in vast remember the analogy (pun intended) of haemorrhoid cream? If you are not ready willing and able to buy a product will not be interesting to you. (Even though the same boring product will fascinate you more than the latest antics of Brangelina when you have to sit on an inflatable ring at the office).

Establishing rapport with people before they are customers is crucial. At this stage in the proceedings don’t worry about selling them anything other than your willingness to share expertise. You know - they want to know. That’s your first transaction right there. Thank you very much. In return - you get their attention and at some point their contact details. And now you can chat. Not sell - that’s vulgar. You don’t sell. You solve.

Owned Media The store environment is the most important medium you have. You own it. There is no decay between the message and the sale - unlike TV where the antics of the government or a shocking revelation on Shortland street can obliterate your message in a moment.

Use the real estate you own with active, relevant messaging that is specific, relates to today’s offer and is measurable in terms of sales.

Your franchisees and their staff are the cast on the stage. Powerful merchandising gives them a focal point from which to begin a conversation with the customer. No one will come into your store if they don’t have a little time. If they spend that time being bewildered they will, ultimately revert to their pre-condition - buying health products from the supermarket. Personal engagement is your not-so secret weapon. Offering sales people conversation starters is as critical as having customers who come in store to solve a specific problem.

Use the height/weight machine to actively generate sales. Earning $20 per week from it as a standalone ‘profit’ centre is a waste of accounting services and, more importantly, the opportunity to engage with customers.

It’s great you have two and half thousand

each other - and that is the purpose of

‘likes’ on Facebook. We like that. Part of

social media - or social business as we

the campaign is to create more ‘social

prefer to call it. The idea is to accessible

objects’ to stimulate useful engage-

and useful. Facebook and Twitter are

ment and sharing of ideas amongst

simply extensions of the interactions that

customers. Word of mouth is still the

occur in store. Utility is to the fore - not

most potent medium - real friends trust

absolute numbers. Getting lots of ‘likes’

from people who want to win a prize but

that empowers people to share.

aren’t really interested in your story or

We like your YouTube videos about

how you can help them fulfil their desires

things like weight loss - but we also have

is just a waste of time. Hoping one day

recommendations for leveraging the in-

you will ‘convert’ them is just a distrac-

vestment you have made in the context

tion. The opportunity with owned media

of social media.

and channels is to fill it with useful stuff

Appendix Response to specific ideas for winter Promotion

Supplementary Response Agency Pitch Brief.

Following our initial document to introduce the pitch team to the client’s marketing team, we met and discussed our general approach. The initial material was simply intended to demonstrate both our enthusiasm for the brand and to recommend a direction to head in that will meet objectives and clearly position the Hardy’s brand as a different and more credible alternative to pharmacy, supermarket and other specialty health competitors. From our meeting in person there was a consensus on the major issues, including: Supporting Franchisees Clearly setting Hardy’s apart Eating the elephant mouthful by mouthful (rather than trying to accomplish all tasks in one fell swoop – the telephone directory approach). Hardy’s requested a specific recommendation for winter that could be implemented in a reasonable time frame for Winter 2013. The material that follows are conceptual but illustrate our direction for both above the line media as well as earned and owned media Positioning Hardy’s are the place to get the best advice on wellness and wellbeing products because our trained, empathetic and knowledgeable staff can spend time with you to select from a range of credible products to help you arrive at the solution specific to your aims, problems and preferences. This is embedded in every message – not literally, but it guides tone, manner and content. It is critical to be distinctively, competitively and relevantly unique in the category.

Creative Direction Winter Promotion

As we said in our initial submission it is important to avoid the clichés of the category. It is cluttered with bland, non-descript imagery of happy, smiling people brought to you directly from the stock-photo libraries of the world. Spending energy and resources on more of this material will only add to the noise and clutter. Retail advertising also benefits from being direct and having a clear promotional purpose. We recommend a visual, or graphic language that is pronounced – refers to the Hardy’s brand identity sympathetically and has room for creative expressions over time. We have adopted the circle motif – it can refer metaphorically to anything from life cycles, circles of friends, cells, worlds…and it can be expressed as images or concepts (such as joining the dots). The concept can be animated and illustrated and used flexibly to create a unique signature – where every impression builds upon the previous one with a distinctive voice. Critically it is highly distinctive. The language should be direct and spell out clearly the reason for shopping Hardy’s is – reinforcing the positioning. But messages from Hardy’s should also have intelligence and wit. It is a premium solution and the audience is intelligent (stupid people don’t take care of their wellbeing). Issues: Winter is like Christmas for the healthcare category. Supplements and OTC remedies clamor for media attention. The big names do the category job – leading brands know that by growing the category they can claim their share of a bigger pie. The result is that consumers have a high awareness of the issues they face during the cough and cold season. But they are confused by the plethora of brands vying for their attention. This confusion is reinforced at point of sale by competing brands scapping it out on supermarket shelves with price promotion, slick packaging and remarkably little differentiation (they have all read the same market research documents). Consumer confusion is the entry point.Rightly or wrongly Vitamin C has become a beacon product for winter. Some argue it contributes no real therapeutic value. But perception is reality. Our winter promotion uses Vitamin C as a metaphor.How do you know which Vitamin C is right for you (or any supplement).You want to be well, but you don’t want to waste money.What if you don’t really need Vitamin C at all. Who can help? Funny you should ask….

Amnesty C Amnesty C is a promotional concept to:drive store traffic – new users. Create a reason to buy now. Create an opportunity to reinforce the value of interaction with a consultant Create opportunity to determine other needs/cross-sell Create opportunity to add to database and follow up with subsequent offers.


If Television is used to promote Hardy’s Health Stores the tactical executions need to synch with the overall strategy and positioning. Executions would be simple and graphic - the messages reinforced by the circle motif.

The ideas would be executed through simple motion graphics - with an element of intelligence and graphic wit. Mandatory: Visual signatures Consultant. Audio signature Retail offer.

Additional ideas. Positioning Skin Skin/Strategic

ŠCopyright MacGregor Media, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Images used for comp purposes only and remain the property of their respective owners.

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