Artboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1chem_negchem_posArtboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1Icons

Rebuilding a Kiwi icon with PlaceMakers

28 August 2019 Article by Mel Moss


PlaceMakers has been helping Kiwis build their homes for nearly forty years. Most of us recognise the brand and they dominate the trade. But over the past few years, their marketshare has been threatened by the aggressive strategies and deep pockets of larger competitors targeting business from previously loyal smaller tradies. How could we work together to help restore their position as an iconic Kiwi brand?

Targeting consumers who hate DIY

Based on the eponymously titled best selling book, a Blue Ocean Strategy argues that “cut-throat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.” Brands should instead look for new market space and ways to reinvent their industry. In short, avoid head-to-head competition and focus on innovation.

So instead of targeting Kiwis who loved DIY, we decided to celebrate the relationship PlaceMakers core market of tradies have with their clients – Kiwis who would rather get the job done by a PlaceMakers tradie. We created a new brand promise to amplify the emotional connection existing between the Tradie and HIS customer, a Kiwi who dislikes DIY and wants their project to be completed by a Tradie expert: Together we’re building New Zealand.

A Brand  with an authentic social conscience

We knew PlaceMakers has a rich history of building New Zealand, yet outside of PlaceMakers no one knows the extent of what they do for the communities they serve. So we worked with the team at PlaceMakers to introduce an exciting social purpose initiative and accompanying PR strategy, authentically celebrating PlaceMakers  impact on Kiwi communities right across the country. The newly created PlaceMakers Foundation enables local communities to apply for Working Bee grants to get important local projects off the ground all with the help of their local PlaceMakers store, its employees and their Tradie customers. The success of this partnership has given our new brand platform Together we’re building New Zealand a compelling proof point at local level.

A strategic approach to media
We knew we couldn’t compete with the big boys on spend, so instead we ensured brand activity ran concurrently with existing retail campaigns to create a multiplication effect. We created a multi-layered campaign to build our brand promise, whilst delivering three goals:

1. Reinforcing our position as the trade’s favourite
2. Articulating our unfair advantage
3. Demonstrate top quality and on-trend product

We created 17 videos in total, individually placed to reach specific audiences whilst building the brand at the same time.

Achieving revolutionary results

Despite competitive media spends that dwarf theirs, PlaceMakers has achieved revolutionary results. The new strategy shifted brand perceptions amongst tradies and consumers and delivered all-important YOY sales growth.

The best news of all is that the new brand positioning has had a positive impact internally, with PlaceMakers’ employee engagement score increasing significantly. Here’s what one of PlaceMakers Branch Operators had to say:

The PlaceMakers campaign has had a direct impact on the business both in terms of top line sales and bottom line profitability. We’ve seen a noticeable increase in new business customers coming into the branch who have not previously considered PlaceMakers as their building partner but the brand advertising resonated with them. This is the power of well thought and a well-executed above the line campaign and  we are excited to see this continue and our businesses growth on the back of it.”

Chris Fairbairn

Branch Operator | PlaceMakers | New Lynn