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Brand Strategy Case

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Pan European brand positioning for IPP

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  • Marc Westeneng; Roel Reukers

    Founding partner; Consultant & Brand Strategy Expert

IPP is one of the leading pallet poolers in Europe and ships over 50 million pallets each year to customers throughout Western Europe. The company is part of the Faber Halbertsma group, a family owned business with a history since 1891. IPP asked flowresulting to advise the company in defining its Pan European brand positioning.

The Challenge

The search for the new Pan European brand positioning required a balancing act of keeping the best of both worlds.  First of all, the company needed a tightly defined positioning that is relevant, consistently executed and easily recognized by customers across Europe.  Secondly the company wanted to preserve its unique way of working in close proximity to customers, in each of its countries where local management enjoyed significant freedom and empowerment to operate effectively.

The Approach

A team made from country directors and a selection of senior professionals was taken on a journey to look at their industry with a fresh look.

The team made an analysis from the three main perspectives that always shape any brand positioning challenge: customer relevance, company identity and competitive advantage. The structured way of working was designed to make assumptions implicitly and explicit, then challenge these to see if they are true, to finally arrive at sharp insights.

A variety of techniques were used, amongst others: customer interviews, analysis of competitors’ communication, ‘best kept secrets’ brainstorm, company heritage analysis, and attribute mapping to analyse the competitive landscape.

Our input

We often observe that companies working on brand communication use an inside-out approach. Meaning that positioning is based on product or organizational features, instead of benefits for the customer. For the 2% of companies that are really purpose driven, this way might lead to an authentic and successful brand position. We prefer to challenge our clients to translate product and organizational features into functional and emotional benefits for their customers.

Our joint exercise resulted in an overview of all possible customer benefits related to the pallet pooling business. The next step was to identify the benefits that were relevant to customers, not well served by competitors and aligned with the capabilities of IPP.

The outcome

In a two month period a well-defined positioning was developed that was truly adopted by country directors and embraced by the board of the Faber Halbertsma group. It served as a strong base for briefing an advertising agency that developed a marketing campaign and creative concept. Soon everyone in Europe who is in the market for pallet pooling will know …