Background

Crown Paints Ireland had big plans in 2009. Under new ownership following a split from their parent company, Akzo Nobel, this newly-independent company planned on using its new-found freedom to more carefully target its communications towards the Irish market.

The challenge was great. Crown Paints Ireland have several brands under its charge, including the master retail brand, the trade offering, plus several specialist sub brands including Sandtex and Sadolin. The economic climate presented its own set of challenges too. With trade sales significantly down, Crown Paints Ireland had to address the consumer market more closely than ever before.

 

Planning

Throughout December ’08 and January ’09, Bloom worked closely with the Crown Paints Ireland marketing function to develop a communications strategy for the coming year. Together we devised a range of ideas for this erstwhile conservative company, developing new ways to for them to get more ‘bang’ for the their existing budgets.

 

The solutions

 

TV

 

When under the Akzo Nobel umbrella, Crown Paints Ireland were fairly constrained as to what they could do on TV. Typically, an ad was made internationally, localized and aired in Ireland. While these ads tended to be high-budget affairs, they did not necessarily carry a message that was appropriate to the Irish market, with Crown Paints Ireland having no input into their production.

For 2009, it was decided that we took the budget allocated for buying and localizing the international work, and instead produce our own. We aimed to develop a suite of ads that communicated the human emotions linked to painting a room. This lead us to develop ‘Room Stories’ – a suite of 3 animated ads, each with a distinctly Irish flavour, that helped us showcase our colours in a fun and memorable way.

You can view the ads here.

 

Online

 

The existing Crown Paints Ireland site was functional, but uninspiring.  While users could browse colours and view video tutorials, there was little in the way of interactivity or ‘stickiness’.

With this in mind, we created www.crownpaints.ie. The new site contains all the mandatory information (colours, product detail, tips etc.), but its primary function is as a online decorating resource. We wanted a site that offered genuinely useful content – inspirational roomsets, interior design blogs, trend videos – that people can view, save in the personal scrapbooks and share with others.

Key to this is regular engagement. The site is updated at least once a week, with new blog entries, promotions, competitions and seasonal products.

Since launching the new site in September, daily visits to the site and average browse time have nearly trebled, and these stats continue improve week-on-week.

2009 also saw Crown Paints Ireland’s first foray into the social media space, with the Sandtex ‘Ireland Deserves Sun’ campaign. You can read a detailed case study on Ireland Deserves Sun here.

In store

 

Crown Paints Ireland have 17 stores throughout the Republic and Northern Ireland. Typically, these store focused on the trade customer, with retail consumers being directed to larger resellers (Woodies, B&Q etc.) and independent DIY stores.

The slowdown in construction, however, meant a drop of in trade customers. Therefore, we took this as an opportunity to develop a range of initiatives to encourage our retail customers to consider the Crown Decorating Centers (CDCs) alongside the traditional outlets.

To make the CDCs more appealing, we introduced customer-focussed POS into the stores, while taking out some local press ads extolling the virtues of your local CDC (service, convenience and expertise). Some CDCs were ‘relaunched’ with family-friendly events, inviting parents to bring their children along for a day of facepainting, prizes and (most-importantly) free decorating advice.

We also helped developed a range of consumer-focused promotions for the CDCs, taking advantage of the flexibility our own store estate afforded us. Most successful of all was the ‘Room Box’ – an all-in-one package that contained enough paint, rollers, brushes, masking tape, sheeting and accessories for you to paint a feature wall / box room / medium-sized dining room etc. The aim of Room Box was to take the uncertainty out of painting, and to communicate the fact it’s cheaper than you think to give a room a new lease of life.

 

The year ahead

 

2009 really helped us lay the groundwork for 2010. The TV ads are due to air again this year, Ireland Deserves Sun may well be resurrected for the Summer ahead and www.crownpaints.ie continues to provide a cost-effective and ever-growing platform for ongoing communications.

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