Brand campaigns, an important yet frustrating part of marketing. There's so much pressure to get it right. We asked Thread's Head of Brand how she does it.
Let’s face it, we’ve all had times during our career where we’ve Googled how to do our jobs. Not just because we don’t know how to actually do our job, but we feel stuck in a rut and need some inspiration. When you are running numerous brand campaigns, this is no surprise.
How many of you have actually gained any inspiration from these searches? Probably quite a few.
But how many of you have felt that you gained any real insight into how the big players are doing things? *cough*
That is because many of these articles are written by people who think they know how brand managers are running the show. These articles do bring value but as you progress in your career as a brand manager, you are probably looking for something a little bit more.
We have that something more.
Who is Alex Allcott and Why Should I Listen to What She Has to Say?
Alex Allcott is an amazing brand marketer with an incredible background. Full stop.
She began her career in advertising and gained over 10 years of experience in the field, mostly at Wieden and Kennedy. She began in account management before moving into strategy as a planner: brand tracking, looking at input and output, developing creative briefs and working with creative teams to build brand campaigns and, of course, evaluating the effect of the campaigns.
“But I wanted to make more of an impact,'' said Alex. “I was interested in tech."
Alex moved to Thread just over a year ago. Thread is an innovative service that combines expert stylists with AI to create a service that only recommends clothes in your style, size and budget.
Since joining Thread, Alex has been influential in building the company’s brand. She leads the team responsible for making sure Thread's communications are consistent, distinctive and crucially that they resonate with their audience. Within this role she:
Briefs and manages all creatives
Manages Thread’s PR channels and “above the line” channels (out of home, TV, etc.)
Manages brand metrics
“The thing that’s tricky is companies are very ‘data-led’ and brand is very hard to measure,'' says Alex. “Plus, it’s not something that always pays back in the short term."
Brand Tracking Helps Solve Alex’s Measurement Problem
Alex has implemented brand tracking into Thread’s everyday marketing activities so she can measure brand. The ability to focus on certain regions is important for her as she can see how brand campaigns are performing in targeted regions, or how one region compares to another.
The results gained from brand tracking opens up important discussions for Alex and Thread: “Are the brand campaigns we are running building brand awareness?”, “Do we want to focus on different target audiences to increase brand awareness there?”, “How can we measure the impact of the creative in helping our campaigns cut through?”.
It is safe to say that brand tracking allows Alex to do brand campaigns the right way: by giving her another data point to help build a rounded view of brand activity.
Brand Campaigns at Thread
Brand campaigns are an 8-week process that plays out in-house. It begins with Alex writing a brief and is followed up by a freelance creative who develops the idea and shoots it in-house. It takes approximately 3-4 weeks to do creative development, plus another two weeks for shooting and producing.
“Good planning is crucial,'' states Alex. “For example, you need to buy media 10 weeks in advance for the London Underground, sometimes even more if you want to run seasonal campaigns. TV is more complicated and expensive but that is understandable considering it is a better brand-building channel.”
As important as the brand campaign itself if, so are the everyday tools that are needed to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly. At Thread, they use customer survey insights to inform the creative brief, and Asana for project management. For campaign management, Alex recommends using a range of different metrics to try and get the most rounded view of the effect of your campaign. This includes tools like Survicate that allow you to ask users how they heard about you, as well as brand tracking and uplift testing.
“We perform uplift tests with a marketing analyst once the out-of-home is finished,” Alex told us. “For instance, we look at London as a region versus cities similar to London and try to flatten out the differences and see if there is an increase in sales in London over that period”.
Brand Campaign Tips From a Brand Manager
There you have it, some great insights from Alex Allcott, Head of Brand at Thread. We want to thank Alex for taking the time to speak with us and for allowing us to enter the world of brand campaigns at Thread. We will certainly take on board some of her tips and hope you will too.