When M&S took legal action against Aldi, claiming their Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake infringed the trademark of the M&S Colin the Caterpillar cake, the ensuing – and hilarious – social media explosion was a welcome distraction from a pandemic riven 2021.

On reflection however, there are important lessons to be learned here – a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis if you will ?. In responding with a series of wickedly funny social posts, Aldi’s joined-up approach portrayed them as David in this battle against Goliath, encouraging empathy with the brand and appealing to a more youthful audience. Their social posts, media response and marketing campaigns were all aligned with this brand messaging – it was a masterclass.

M&S on the other hand, completely misjudged the mood of the nation, and in so doing damaged their carefully curated image as the British brand of the people. Their response across all channels came across as high-handed and unreasonable – this is M&S branding?? A more integrated, consistent approach across their social media, marketing and legal teams would, I’m sure, have worked wonders in preserving M&S’s market position as the brand we know and love.

Partnership pays off

It’s a salutary lesson – regardless of whether you’re a national treasure or a local start-up. Quite simply if you want to get the best out of your relationship with your marketing and PR partners, then it’s worth focusing on that word: partners. Consider them an extension of your own team – they may not share an office with you, but they’re very much an integral part of your business.

As a PR Account Manager at Bold St, it’s my job to make sure I know not only what our clients’ business objectives are, but also what their core values are and the key facets of their brand personality. Once we have worked together to establish these, we can then direct our energies towards connecting our clients with their target markets.

  • Which audiences do they want to talk to?
  • How can we reach them?
  • Which messages will resonate most with our target audience?
  • How do we measure the success of a campaign?

So that’s the theory, but how does this work in reality?

You’re running a business, wearing many different hats in the course of a day, and you just need the PR and Marketing people to do their thing and drive those new customers straight to your door (or your inbox at least), right?

Well, here’s the thing – investing time to liaise with us will pay dividends. Here are some examples of how you can get the best results from working with a PR / Marketing partner:

  1. Communication: Don’t wait until scheduled calls or meetings to fill us in on important developments in your business. The earlier we know the more effectively we can plan, carry out research, contact key journalists… the list goes on.
  2. Communication: As tempting as it is, please, please, please don’t let us find out something exciting on your social media channels! ☹ Once information has been shared on social media, it’s highly unlikely that journalists will run the story. We’re here to communicate your message to all of your stakeholders across all of your channels, thereby maximizing the opportunity – getting the most bang for your buck. If we’re not privy to that information before it’s in the public domain, we can’t do that, and your business could miss out on great opportunities for exposure.
  3. Did I mention ‘Communication’?? Businesses evolve – they grow, they change direction, shift their goals. As your business traverses along its ‘journey’ we regularly re-mould the brand and messages, and hand-in-hand with that, the tools we use to connect you with your audience. So keep us in the loop when things change. We have regular strategy sessions with our clients so we remain up-to-speed with where they are and where they’re going. Because it’s our job to help them get there.

To quote a very famous ad campaign (you’ll need to be the same vintage as me to remember it though! ?) it’s good to talk. And to listen. One final piece of advice? Be a Cuthbert, not a Colin. ?

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