Officeworks - Make bigger things happen

How getting emotional inspired a remarkable turnaround at Australia's largest office supplies retailer.

8.6%
INCREASE
Average annual transaction growth
$1.77
ROI
Return on investment for every $1 spent
$1.27
BILLION
Achieved in additional sales
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Challenge

Officeworks is Australia’s largest retailer selling office products. Since opening its doors in 1994 the business has grown to a network of 165 stores generating over $2 billion in annual sales.

The brand positioned itself as the one-stop shop for all things business, education and creativity, and saw healthy growth up until mid-2000. Then market dynamics began to shift. By 2012, Officeworks had become a functional brand whose product-and-price-based communications struggled to connect with customers.

Sales and brand health measures plateaued. Clearly a strategic refresh was required.

Sales and brand health measures plateaued. Clearly a strategic refresh was required.

SOLUTION

The answer to Officeworks’ growth challenge lay in a major repositioning. We proposed shifting to a new customer-centric strategy and completely reframing the brand, both to the market and within the organisation.

Building on the work of marketing effectiveness experts Les Binet and Peter Field, we designed a dual approach utilising both rational-led communications and emotional-led communications. The latter were crucial for priming our audience and growing their connection with the Officeworks brand.

After extensive research and strategy development, we focused in on our customers’ deeply personal ideas and ambitions, and how Officeworks could help make these a reality. We expressed this positioning with the new tagline: Big ideas. Lowest prices.

While a series of award winning campaigns brought this positioning to life, we also attended to the people factor. Working with senior management we translated the positioning into a new company-wide purpose: to help make bigger things happen.

Several years later, this ‘positioning turned purpose’ now sits firmly at the heart of the Officeworks company culture and has influenced many facets of the business, including HR and recruitment practices.

In 2017 we even evolved the Officeworks tagline to ‘Make bigger things happen’, a powerful statement of the company’s internal-external alignment.

This repositioning has changed how Officeworks communicates externally and internally. It has been translated right through the organisation. Confidence in the strategy continues to grow, driven by strong sales and brand results.

Client Lead

Officeworks

OUTCOME

After six years of executing and refining this new strategy, Officeworks’ brand metrics are at an all-time high, with record sales growth and an ever-growing fan base.

The switch from shouty product-and-price advertising to campaigns focusing on functional benefits teamed with dedicated brand-building campaigns grew the likability of Officeworks’ advertising. In long term studies, half of non buyers agreed “the ads make Officeworks more appealing” and a third agreed “the ads make me more likely to shop at Officeworks”.

Consumers were not only engaged. In keeping with the principle of emotional priming, they were also more receptive to Officeworks’ functional messaging. In 2018, 59% of people agreed that Officeworks offered the best value in office products. In 2012 it was just 41%.

As confidence grew in the new positioning, growth accelerated. Intention to shop measures climbed to such an extent that international retail academic Lawrence Ring commented: "Officeworks is one of only two brands I’ve seen globally with a main store preference score this high." In January 2018 Officeworks set new records for the brand’s biggest sales day, week and month.

Econometric modelling shows the repositioning has so far delivered almost $1.27 billion in additional sales and $591 million in gross profit to the business. And an ROI of $1.77 for every $1 spent.

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