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Boutique on dancing to the disco beat of data, insight and creativity

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Since launching in 2012, Leeds agency Boutique has developed its own innovative model to develop ambitious strategies for brands, powered by data and insight.

The multi-channel marketing agency has spearheaded leading campaigns for the likes of BestHeating and pet brand Naturo, working in collaboration with creative agencies.

“Our proposition for clients is: tell us what your objectives are, we’ll look at the data and drive some insight, then we’ll build a strategy. It will tell you where you actually need to be, what you need to spend money on and how much,” Simon Bollon, Boutique’s founder and director, told Prolific North.

Data and insight are powerful tools at the centre of how the agency operates, helping to fuel creative thinking. Boutique ties these together through its DISCO model, which stands for data, insight, strategy, channel and outcomes, to inform and drive powerful briefs for its creative agency partners.

“The idea that data and insight stifles creativity, it shouldn’t, as long as you’re using the data and insight in the most effective way.”

It isn’t just about “throwing” data together for the sake of it, though. 

By delving into who the audience actually is first, it can drive invaluable insights to inform and build out campaigns, such as how consumers behave, their route to purchase for a product and their affinity to other brands.

“Single service agencies struggle with this because they’re product focused. Our agnostic approach means we take a much more holistic view and invest much deeper in resources to allow us to outperform the market at all points of the DISCO model.”

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Boutique’s DISCO model


Building out stories for clients using data and insights

Initially, the agency “builds out clear stories”, starting with in-depth user research on customers to gather vital data using its DISCO model.

For example, when working with French Bedroom Company, an analysis was carried out on the company’s existing database and social following. After the analysis, the agency then set out to engage with those users by carrying out telephone interviews and research questionnaires. 

Following the data research, an important insight was discovered. 85% of users following French Bedroom Company on social media were brand admirers, not its target customer base. 

“They follow them because they have cool looking products and it’s aspirational.”

To build out these stories, using an example of its work with radiator specialists BestHeating, the agency uses the data and insights combined to bring a strategy to life. A key insight discovered about BestHeating was that the brand had to increase its awareness but also grow the market.

“An insight we found was that only 17% of people consider changing a radiator when they’re doing a room improvement.

“We needed to get people to think of radiators as a product that they would consider when they’re doing a home improvement. Then, that insight drives you through the strategy. So, we needed to make radiators more appealing.”

The result was crafting a creative advertising campaign for BestHeating alongside creative agency 10 Associates, designed around a new “heating, made cooler” proposition.

 

With a glossy orange radiator as a focal point in someone’s home, designed to depict an art installation in the advert, the ambition was to attract the attention of potential customers looking to do home improvements and make it “cool”.

“The challenge with BestHeating was that there wasn’t a huge amount of growth in the digital space. They needed to raise awareness and appetite with the consumer and make more people think about radiators. It wasn’t about spending more money in search or getting more of the search market.

“We needed to make radiators more attractive and for more people to think about them to uplift sentiment. So that flowed into the creative process, with the outcome being the ‘heating, made cooler’ brand proposition.”

How data and insights can fuel creative and memorable campaigns

Data and insights can become powerful tools to help brands stand out in the marketplace.

Working with Hammonds Furniture, the agency found consumers searching for fitted furniture had a better awareness of another competitor in the market at the time.

“The first thing we needed to do was differentiate them. The piece of insight we found was that when we showed people the existing creative for Hammonds, more people thought it was for their competitor than thought it was for Hammonds. That represented the competitors’ dominant position in the marketplace.”

As consumers instantly thought of a competitor when it came to purchasing fitted furniture, these insights fed into the briefing process in collaboration with a partner creative agency.

“We’re saying to the creative: This is the challenge, this is the insight. How do we create something that is going to allow us to differentiate and stand out from the marketplace?”

Through uncovering audience insights working with pet brand Naturo, although the company did stand out in the marketplace with its product point of difference, pet brands typically look the same and it’s often difficult to differentiate them.

“You see a dog jumping on a sofa, a dog running through the woods, a happy owner and then a dog eating some pet food. Any advertising in that space all looks exactly the same.”

Activating its DISCO model in collaboration with 10 Associates, these insights were used to carve out a creative brief for a multi-channel campaign.

 

It led to the creation of Naturo’s witty ‘nose best’ campaign, with a TV creative only showing dogs in a blank studio with their noses prominently placed in front of the camera to spark awareness.

What better way to differentiate a brand than with a catchy jingle? “Head, shoulders, knees and nose” might be stuck in many minds for a while.

“It’s something very ownable that is distinctly associated with Naturo. It couldn’t be mistaken for another pet food brand and the data and insight there is what has driven the creative briefing process. For Naturo, it’s more about reaching the right people with something interesting that they’ll recognise.”

But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, the DISCO model flows through all of the agency’s work and how it is used depends on the challenges a brand might be facing.

“The immediate activation and channel strategy then flows out of that and looks very different from one brand to another dependent on the objectives that we’ve uncovered as part of the data and insight process.”

In future, he said the agency plans to continue working with more creative agencies on exciting projects and believes the brands that embrace the opportunity to be different and do unique creative work will be the ones that “win”.

“It would have been very safe for Naturo to have done a creative campaign that looked pretty much like everybody else. Because why would these brands do it if it didn’t work, right? It took a bit of courage and bravery for the client to go down a very different route.

“We try to use that data, that insight, that factual grounding, to be able to turn it into an opportunity to do something interesting and exciting creatively.”

At a time when marketeers and brand owners need to demonstrate wise investment, the DISCO model is a powerful platform for building objective-driven strategies.

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