Crisis management, Marketing, Public relations

Don’t wine about decline, invest in your brand


Photo by Mike DelGaudio.

Photo by Mike DelGaudio.

Tim Hughes writes…

I read with interest today of the decision by the new CEO of Treasury Wine Estates, Michael Clark, to increase the company’s marketing spend by 50 per cent in the midst of a $35 million cost cutting program.

In my view, it’s a bold decision with benefits.

Too often, when times get tough, businesses pull in their belt and put their head in the sand.

Seldom do they look up and out and re-invest in building their brand with a view to stimulating market demand and driving their business from the front foot.

Mr Clark’s reasoning makes good sense.

“TWE’s brands have suffered from a lack of consumer-facing marketing investment and we will address this in fiscal 2015 by increasing consumer marketing spend in fiscal 2015 by circa 50 per cent relative to the prior year.

“It is imperative that our marketing and sales capabilities are more in line with the company’s ability to make outstanding wines across all categories.

“Despite the continuation of challenging trading conditions in the second half of the year, I am determined to act upon opportunities to drive sustainable top-line momentum and margin expansion while at the same time, improving TWE’s brand equity and connections with consumers, retailers and distributors.”

In short:

“We cut too hard with our marketing in the tough times.

“We know we make a great product – but now not enough consumers do.

“Our brand is valuable and powerful so we’re going to invest in it – and that will drive our business.”

This strategy makes even more sense when competitors are going the other way. It gives a greater share of voice and – particularly with the volume of media consumed by such a large organisation – it should add significantly to buying power.

Using its increased marketing spend to build connections with retailers and distributors is also a smart move for TWE. Involving its “market gatekeepers” demonstrates TWE is putting its money where its mouth is – and will create shared ownership in the success of its brands.

At Hughes Public Relations, we are fortunate to work with organisations who also view adversity as opportunity and who have the resources and intelligence to invest strategically in brand building when others are not.

The result, a head start when markets pick up – and a greater buffer between them and their competitors when the cycle turns down.

Counter cyclical investment – particularly in marketing – can mean the difference between make or break!

Read the original article, Penfolds owner swings the axe, in InDaily here.

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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I’m a cancer survivor

By Lyndal Redman

I’m a cancer survivor! It’s a phrase that I have always shied away from using. I didn’t have to endure chemotherapy or lose my hair – but I have had the “Big C”, and no please don’t look at me like that! (That was always the hardest part – watching someone’s face drop and seeing that look in their eyes).

January 2004 – a Monday morning. I’d had a total thyroidectomy on the Friday prior and I was still waiting for the pathology reports. I lay in my hospital room waiting for the results. Just months earlier after finding what could be described as quite a lump in my throat (it was like an Adam’s apple which on a female is a little odd!) I’d headed to the doctors. I didn’t think at first that much was wrong. Sure, I used to go home and sleep straight after work, and I had put on weight but I put that down to eating too much KFC! Anyway, after two biopsies I was still referred to as “inconclusive”. It was my choice to go under the knife and wear the scar for the rest of my life.

Waiting was the hardest part. As Dr Isabel entered the room that Monday morning I knew that the results had shown it was cancer. Calmly, I took those words in and listened to what treatment was next. I’d have to spend a night or two in the RAH in isolation – after a high dose of radioactive iodine which is how they kill any remaining cells in your body.

I suppose I could say I was lucky knowing that my sister had gone through this at the age of nine, twenty years earlier, and she was fine. Six months after my treatment, my mum had her thyroid removed due to cancer, too. Half of my family can now claim to be cancer survivors! Now ten years on, I’ve seen friends battle the disease, lose their hair and come out the other side to realise their dreams. But, we are the lucky ones. There are many who succumb to cancer, and I’ve experienced the grief of losing them as well.

That’s why when Angie and Henri from Many Faces of Cancer approached me and Hughes PR to help support this year’s charity dinner I couldn’t say no. I saw this event as a great way to remember those who didn’t survive and to help those who will one day be sitting in that hospital room waiting for their diagnosis.

If you want to show your support to this great charity, please donate or buy a ticket for this year’s charity dinner on June 14.

For more information view the video on the Many Face of Cancer website.