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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. But over the past few years, their market share 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

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.

We created a new brand promise in partnership with PlaceMakers to amplify the emotional connection between these tradies and their customers: Together we’re building New Zealand.

A brand with an authentic social conscience

PlaceMakers has a rich history of building New Zealand, yet outside of the business, no one knows the extent of what they do for the communities they serve. So we worked with the team to introduce an exciting social purpose initiative and accompanying PR strategy, authentically celebrating PlaceMakers’ impact on Kiwi communities 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 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 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. Demonstrating top quality and on-trend product

We created 17 pieces of video 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