Landal GreenParks
Branding & Communication

Increase brand distinctiveness in a highly competitive Dutch market

How do you get consumers to consider your brand rather than your competitor's? Which brand elements in your branding are best magnified, and which features would you rather leave out? This was the question the commercial team of Landal GreenParks struggled with when Imen Laroussi joined them 4.5 years ago as International Manager Campaigns. Find out in this interview with Imen and Cora Everaarts (Manager of Marketing Intelligence at Landal GreenParks) how they tackled this issue, and what role brand research played in it.


0-measurement positioning: measure first, then change

When Imen started at Landal GreenParks, she immediately started sharpening the positioning of the vacation park. Several advertising agencies were then involved in developing the positioning into communications. "We were curious how we could best incorporate the new positioning into our campaigns and communications." The result: a different campaign concept with a new visual style, including experiential photography and more user-generated content. But before these new expressions were made public, a 0 measurement was essential.

Cora, Manager of Marketing Intelligence at Landal GreenParks, was also involved in this 0-meting: "With such a change in positioning, it is extremely important to draw a clear line between the old and new campaigns: only then can you properly observe the development. To carry out this 0-meting, we went looking for parties who are highly regarded in the field of brand research and who could help us answer our research questions. Blauw came out of the pitch as the winner, partly due to its innovative vision of brand research and its application of the How Brand Grows mindset, and carried out the 0 measurement in the summer of 2018."


Need for actionable insights

The 0 measurement gave more insight into how consumers think of Landal GreenParks, and to what extent those associations are different with competitors. Still, the research was mainly a confirmation of what Imen and Cora already suspected. For example, it was difficult for the market teams at Landal GreenParks to convert the conclusions of the research directly into concrete actions. "Something Blauw already warned about when we chose this measurement method for the 0 measurement." said Cora.

Indeed, by opting for a traditional brand research without How Brands Grow addition, the research mainly reflected the status quo. After the 0 measurement, there remained a strong need for more insight into the target group's thought process. Actionable insights did not materialize.


1-measurement: addition of CEPS

Flash-forward to one year later, the fall of 2019. It is time for a 1-measurement, to examine the effects of the new positioning direction. Imen and Cora discuss the desire for more concrete actions with Blauw. Cora: "In the run-up to the 2018 baseline measurement, we had long discussions internally about the Byron Sharp thinking. Blauw Research brought this methodology to our attention back then because it [taking a 'traditional' 0 measurement] would possibly lead to a lack of actionability, but we made a different choice at the time."

In the conversation about the 1-measurement, Blauw therefore came up with the proposal to now also do research on CEPs(Category Entry Points): all the moments in the category that cause a consumer to think of a particular brand, consider it and buy it. CEPs are not about end values - or Simon Sinek's WHY - but rather about the tangible: what, with whom, when and where(to). Think, for example, "after exercise," "for the road," or "with the kids. The more CEPs consumers associate with the brand, the stronger the brand.

CEPs brackets offers insight and guidance

The "hooks" that emerged from the CEPs research were very important to Landal GreenParks. After all, it gives insight into the thinking and choice process of future customers. "We were already thinking about hooks in brainstorms and campaign meetings, but [had] not yet substantiated this from research," indicates Imen. The CEPs research has inspired the market teams at Landal GreenParks. For example, the research provides insight into which hooks they can best "claim" in the market - what should become "typical Landal"?

It also provides guidance in making budget choices. What message do you communicate through radio? What do you put online? Moreover, by clarifying these CEPs, they gained a better picture of the entire "field of competition" - in addition to the comparable bungalow parks: "Our competitors are not only other providers of bungalow vacations, but also experience moments such as a day out with the family." Think a trip to the cinema or a day at a zoo or amusement park.

CEPs interviews are "an enormous wealth of information"

Looking back on the 1 measurement, the qualitative research is especially appreciated. Imen: "The CEPs interviews were very enlightening. In a short time you get a representative from different target groups at the table. Then an interview is conducted in a certain way; in a short time you hear an enormous wealth of useful information." "It was also a real treat to be there," Cora adds. "Everyone on our team wanted to attend the interviews!"

Engaging with the target group is something Landal GreenParks has always done. Cora: "That's the privilege of our brand and product: we can always be among our guests. Like walking around in your own database." Still, an independent party remains useful in this. For example, Landal regularly uses a guest panel, but this contains predominantly people who are already "fans" of Landal. "To test properly, you need to question different groups, not just your loyal guests. Otherwise, your assumption becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

In addition to the qualitative interviews, Byron Sharp's broad view of the target audience also appealed to Imen. By thinking in CEPs, they learned that the category was much larger than they expected.

A characteristic of Blauw's research method is that it includes research on recent users. Instead of asking random consumers about their preferences in a "hypothetical choice," actual prompts, choices and behaviors are examined. This helped marketing managers think differently about their category, and how people come to (purchase) choices. "I did find that a real eye-opener," Cora points out. "You can't put people in one box, there's not one funnel. It's about so many different disks and moments. Context is crucial in that."


Brand tracking in the future

Because the communications team has been primarily focused on providing clear information and assurance to guests in recent months in the context of the corona crisis, brand research was on the back burner for a while. Nonetheless, structural research is desirable, Cora believes: "I think a 2-measurement is definitely on the way. From a data point of view, you want to have a continuous stream of brand tracking. That way you can detect fluctuations and trends the best."

When asked which research method they will repeat, Cora and Imen are unanimous: the 1-measurement, with the addition of CEPs. "The [research] became very concrete with the addition of CEPs. It is quite a lot of money, such a research. Then the investment really has to be worth it, and it certainly was."

The most important tip when it comes to brand research? Imen: "The most important thing is that you actually apply the insights. And we are definitely going to do that!"

"The CEPs interviews were very enlightening. You get a representative from different target groups at the table in a short time. In a short time we got an enormous wealth of useful information. It was also a real treat to be present for that."
Cora Everaarts
Manager of Marketing Intelligence

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