Dean Amery, Key Account Director at THG Ingenuity.
Taking a brand into the online world is a process that requires seamless communication and alignment. This is why any ecommerce venture begins with developing a healthy and collaborative relationship with the client – and one that has trust at the centre.
When it comes to relationship building, it’s important to lay the right foundations from the outset. This means developing not just an understanding of the brand, but also a deeper appreciation for the direction the client wants to go take, and what strategy they’re looking to put in place. Attached to this is the importance of taking the time to uncover the brand’s nuances, and learning how it needs to be treated. There are always a number of brand-specific considerations that you have to be cognisant of before you can properly get to work building its online presence.
But developing a well-rounded understanding of a brand goes well beyond simply learning about its strategy and idiosyncrasies. Equally important is building strong relationships with key people within the business, and taking the time to ensure that communication is ongoing. The key is to be reliable, and this is why we have to ensure that the dialogue remains constant.
Our relationships with clients are made all the stronger by the way we construct teams around brands. It’s not just about building a team of experts – we’re just as keen to make sure we’re building teams that understand the product that reflect the core customer.
“When everything fits into place like this, we become an extension of the brand”
Perhaps the best example of this is the Nintendo team here at Ingenuity. They understand the product, they understand the market, and, most importantly, they understand where the brand is going. This helps enormously when it comes to developing and executing a strategy for the client. But even more crucially, it goes back to this idea of the importance of building trust. It’s a great advantage to have a team here that understands a brand and its products just as well as the clients themselves. When everything fits into place like this, we become an extension of the brand.
Once we have the right team and strategy in place, it’s about making sure a brand goes to market with clear USPs. In today’s climate, you can’t just put a product into the market, and expect it to sell. There’s far more to consider. This is where we make the most of a well-cultivated client relationship to understand what the USP is, and how we can make the traffic we generate stick.
Ultimately, we have to make sure that what we’re doing on site is different to just a direct price comparison against retail. For some brands, the USP could be exclusives and bundles, whereas for other brands it could be placing that emphasis on service quality and the overall customer experience. The last thing you want to be doing is competing solely on price – this is why finding, and emphasising, that USP is so crucial.
“You can’t just take a product to market and expect it to sell…We have to be very clear about what that USP is.”
Underlying most of our efforts to grow brands is the wealth of experience we have here at THG. As a group, we have fourteen years of online retail experience – and we’ve taken the bruises to prove it. We’ve continued to optimise the platform, attract the best talent, and improve the way we gather and use data. Looking at it holistically, we have more than a decade’s worth of learnings we can apply to any third-party project.
Equally valuable is the technological infrastructure we have access to at THG. One result of our optimisation efforts is that we have access to a golden thread of data that runs from our marketing activities all the way through to fulfilment and customer services. It’s about making sure that we’re constantly analysing this data with the clients, ensuring that they’re able to adjust their own strategies based on what we’re seeing from the data.
The final stage of growing a brand online is preparing it for localisation. The key here is to always act local. At THG, we very much think global and act local. In practice, this means that while the infrastructure might be central, the way we market and trade a product has to reflect the nuances and dynamics of the territory.
It’s at this point that we have to work very closely with the client to ensure we’re aligned on a local trading and marketing strategy. The approach we take will always be informed by our experiences at THG, and in this sense, we’re there to advise the client and share our learnings and experiences – both the successes as well as the bruises.