How often do you hear about client-agency relationships that have lasted longer than 20 years?
Our relationship with Jack Daniel’s is unusual. That’s because they’re an unusual client and we’re an unusual agency.
They believe in investing in relationships and treating their agencies as genuine brand partners. We believe in never ever being complacent, pushing ourselves without having to be pushed and giving the same levels of passion and commitment to every single brief we receive; whether it’s our first or our 500th.
So, what have we done over those 20+ years and why has it been so successful?
Taking the long view.
The long-lasting nature of our relationship with the brand, is mirrored by our desire and ability to create long lasting relationships between the brand and its consumers. When we started the Jack Daniel’s CRM programme the term ‘CRM programme’ wasn’t even in use, but when a merchandise catalogue that was part of a sales promotion campaign left us with list of a few thousand consumers, we identified the value in treating that list as an opportunity to start a relationship with them.
So we created what became one of the UK’s longest running and most successful CRM programmes, developing to incorporate digital and social comms channels as the times have changed, but unlike other brands, we didn’t simply jump on the bandwagon of technological development for the sake of it. We kept the consumer and our relationship with them at the heart of our strategy, making decisions not just for the sake of trying something new, but focused on what would best enhance or develop that relationship.
This means that rather than simply switching to the latest favoured comms channel, our programme has evolved to include newly available channels in a carefully considered way that enabled us to retain the best of the analogue programme whilst embracing the potential that digital and social offered.
We set out to develop lasting and valuable relationship between the brand and their consumers and that means taking the long view. That can be challenging for both clients and agencies, when the ‘success’ of marketing can often be focused solely on short term measures, but at Jack Daniel’s, whilst sales targets were definitely robust, they also understand and appreciate the value of viewing communications as touchpoints on a journey that drives genuine loyalty rather than tactical campaigns.
Tell not sell.
The Jack Daniel’s ‘tell not sell’ approach to marketing, which focuses on engaging and influencing consumers by telling them our stories and our product truths rather than simply trying to force a sale, has always been at the centre of our strategy. That means no MONP coupons and no hard sales drivers, something that is very unusual (and has at times been very challenging!) but is also a gift in that it drives us to be cleverer and more creative in our approach.
Vital to that approach is a strong brand, with clearly defined values and distinct personality to shape a consistent tone of voice. At the heart of our Listen & Talk view is a belief that in order for a brand to make genuine human connections with its consumers, it has to truly know itself, as that self-knowledge will help to drive human behaviours and in turn engage the people that we want to connect with.
Imforming, improving and innovating.
Another vital component of building valuable human-centric relationships is using every opportunity to learn from our consumers; whether that be via data analytics or taking the human approach and simply asking them! That consumer insight has helped shape our consistently drive for improvement and innovation.
And whether sending Jack’s first email (which sounds crazy now!), launching all of the brand’s social channels, launching their first app or introducing new portfolio products to the UK market, each ‘brand first’ has been informed by a consumer focused, insight driven approach that took our audience along with us.
We’re incredibly proud of the work that we’ve done with Jack Daniel’s. We’ve helped grow the brand from just 60,000 cases, to over 1 million. Our mailing and eCRM response rates consistently sit at over double industry benchmarks and our social content is heralded as best in class globally. But the stats we’re most proud of are that the ‘Friends of Jack’ on our programme drink, on average, an extra bottle of Jack Daniel’s per year at the expense of competitor and amazingly, 60% of those consumers on our programme actively recommend Jack to their friends – and that’s the best possible recruitment tool that a brand can hope to have!