1st June 2016

The Importance of ‘Tailored’ Communications

Today I flicked onto the Mail Online only to be met with a story about Marks & Spencer supporting, and advertising the fact that it is the official suit supplier for, the England football team in the Euros, at one of its flagship stores, not so far from the Welsh capital.

Not necessarily being a football fan, but being Welsh and being in the communications industry, I wasn’t sure what bothered me more – the fact that M&S has so blatantly ignored Wales in its support, or disbelief at how such a savvy ad team, that in recent years has done so much to turn around its image, can get its regional marketing so out of whack.

Lisa Blog

Poster at Culver House Cross, Cardiff

Other brands that jumped on the England team bandwagon and woefully advertised this in Wales include Mars and JD Sports (who responded rapidly by removing the ads). This has left me with one burning question – what part of region specific advertising do brands not get?

Granted, us Welsh are patriotic, I am not going to deny that, and as a result, super sensitive when it comes to anything Welsh football related (don’t mention the rugby!).  However, the impact regionally tailored communications has on the success of a campaign is undeniable.

When it comes to executing a successful regional ATL, social and PR campaign, the most important thing is to know your audience. Brands must consider cultural and language sensitivities in order for anything to hit home. You do not want to end up with calls to boycott your brand, as is the case here.

The messaging itself is also vital and needs to be appropriate and of interest to your local audience in order to meet the objectives of your brand. Finally, the language used needs to be considered. This is more than just translating it to the local tongue, which so many brands have successfully done in Wales, you also need to think about how the message translates and if it resonates – in this case, it couldn’t resonate less with the Welsh.

If official support lies with the England football team, that is fine. It’s a brilliant partnership! But do not advertise it in Wales, it will not go down well. M&S would have been much better off with no ad attached to the suits at all.

So, in conclusion M&S, your suits might be tailored, but your ad campaigns are not.

By Lisa Hale, Consumer Account Director