It’s back to school for the big brands, all battling to be top of the class

Have you sharpened your pencils? Or more appropriately powered up your work tablet and mobile as the ‘back to school’ mindset takes hold this week?

Branwell Johnson

Some marketers will hit the ground running, having prepared for a crucial battle for market share for some time. It is going to be fascinating to watch the mobile companies ramp up their communications about 4G to a mighty roar as Christmas approaches. All the rivals have started campaigns already and, while Vodafone was first to market, capturing new accounts during the festive period will be crucial.

Then there are the banks and building societies. Crunch date will be 16 September for players both big and small, marking the introduction of a new switching service that means customers should be able to move their accounts within seven days. Some financial brands have already started their marketing and introduced incentives to attract clients, while others are keeping their powder dry.

And it’s a given that Camelot and its challenger, Northern & Shell’s Health Lottery, will be trading blows when the price of a National Lottery ticket increases to £2 in October.

If you are not directly involved in these big brand battles you should be watching and taking notes from the sidelines. It is a useful opportunity to see how budgets are being deployed, who is using clever tactics and careful segmentation rather than a blunderbuss approach, how far boundaries are being pushed in comparative advertising and what role social media is playing in these campaigns.

Marketing Week is also providing some back-to-school lessons this week. UK brands are missing out on opportunities to increase exports or launch in new markets on the world stage. The Essential Read presents advice from leading brands on where they are focusing their efforts and what fundamentals must be considered.

And there is also a feature on the approach ‘Generation Z’ takes to making purchasing decisions. That’s the 14-19 age group, which, in the fullness of time will be considering mobile contracts, bank accounts (if not already) and even buying lottery tickets. It’s well worth stockpiling insights into these youngsters now to help develop some long-term strategies.

Going back to school should be exciting, inspiring and a chance to look with fresh eyes at the challenges and opportunities for your business. We look forward to sharing what we learn and hearing what you are up to.

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