UK marketers adapt to the downturn

02 July 2009

LONDON: British Airways, Marks & Spencer and Procter & Gamble are among the major companies transforming their marketing structures in the UK as they adapt to changing circumstances.

British Airways, the air carrier, established a new "rapid-reaction" marketing division in May, working under the title of Revenue Labs, and which is charged with developing its brand-building strategy.

The unit is comprised of senior figures from across the company's various areas of operation, and it is hoped this new approach will help the organisation adapt to any alteration in market conditions.

Abi Comber, BA's managing director of brand and insight, said the company wants to "be at the forefront of getting Britain travelling, whether this is helping business travellers or consumers taking a leisure break."

Marks & Spencer, the retailer, has also initiated a wide-ranging innovation programme covering everything from its distribution platform and online operations to its ethical policy and sales in emerging markets.

Earlier this year, Stuart Rose, its ceo, launched the "2020: Doing the right thing" initiative, which similarly emphasised a number of these themes.

The slogan "Doing the right thing" will now underpin much of the company's marketing, as will the tagline "Quality worth every penny".

Other objectives identified by Marks & Spencer include adopting a "multi-channel" approach to make sure its overall operations are more streamlined.

As previously reported, Procter & Gamble has also recently announced a shift in focus for its marketers, who will take on brand-building duties alongside their more traditional roles.

Roisin Donnelly, its corporate marketing director for the UK and Ireland, said: "External relations, such as public relations and corporate communications, as well as consumer market knowledge, will report into chief marketing officers."

"These departments previously reported into the chief executive AG Lafley, but will now report into global marketing officer Marc Pritchard."

Donnelly argued that this approach was an "evolution" of P&G's existing strategy, and would help focus all of the company's marketers on the same objectives.

Data sourced from Marketing Magazine; additional content by WARC staff