Following a competitive 4 way pitch, Smith Partnership have appointed WDA Marketing to help to drive their existing and new business development.

Finalists in the Creative Industries Business of the Year category of the Derby Telegraph Business Awards, WDA were awarded the business having identified new strategic and tactical marketing ideas and brand development thinking to position and market Smith Partnership in a legal services market that is undergoing considerable change.

‘Jointly announcing the account win beside the famous ‘Orrery’ painting by acclaimed Derby artist Joseph Wright at Derby Museum and Art Gallery may seem strange at first’ said WDA Managing Director Lee Waterhouse

‘But in fact, there are parallels in how Wright’s paintings highlight new thinking and innovation and WDA’s own ‘brand driven marketing’ approach which has shed new light on how Smith Partnership can take advantage of challenges and opportunities in a rapidly evolving legal services market.

During a recent Cathedral Quarter Professional Services forum (hosted by Telegraph Editor Neil White) the importance of Joseph Wright as a ‘brand figurehead’ for Derby was referenced. Famous for capturing the period of enlightenment and the birth of the industrial revolution, Wright’s work is considered a metaphor for innovation; but this is nearly always linked to the city’s famed Aerospace, Rail and Automotive sectors.

Smith Partnership’s Business Development Partner Claire Twells challenged invited agencies to show how similar new thinking could align Smith Partnership’s professional services offering within a legal services sector undergoing quite a revolution of its own.

Smith Partnership clearly believe that WDA Marketing were able to ‘throw new light’ on this sector in the City’s tradition of creativity and innovation – Joseph Wright would surely be proud that the heritage he first shared with the world nearly 250 years ago is alive and well!

Following WDA’s highly successful 2013 brand re-positioning and re-launch of premium car care brand MER ‘Auto Shine’ Technologie, this years integrated marketing and advertising campaign encourages car owners to ‘Be MERticulous’, and is already showing further sales growth with early year on year sales up 20% in main retailer Halfords.

Having seen several competitor brands try to echo elements of MER’s successful 2013 ‘Perfect Finish’ marketing campaign, WDA worked closely with the MER brand marketing team to push creative boundaries again to create a wholly ‘own-able’ brand communication platform/campaign built around a brand asset that can’t be echoed (or copied as in some cases!) – the MER brand name itself.

WDA’s ‘brand driven marketing’ strategy identified the opportunity to develop the distinctive MER brand positioning still further. Achieving this by building around the core insight that its target customers really do share a ‘meticulous attitude’ to car care, driven by their own demanding personal standards shown in most aspects of their life, not just how they look after their cars.

The ‘BE MERTICULOUS’ campaign was created out of that insight, and then creatively based around an easy and immediately understandable phonetic play on the adjective ‘meticulous’ (definition being ‘taking extreme care’) which epitomises MER’s target customer attitude. This establishes connection with customers not just rationally with the word, but emotionally with the attitude itself of being meticulous. It’s virtually impossible to say meticulous without saying MER!

Distinctive verbal communication must always work as part of an equally distinctive and emotionally engaging supporting visual message to be fully effective. WDA went against the car care marketing norm of primarily just showing a nice shiny car, by sensitively and subtly evoking the ‘being MERticulous’ brand attitude instantly through the arresting stare of a meticulously dressed woman and supporting message ’the very model of German excellence you might say…’

WDA’s brand driven marketing approach identifies the optimum way to ensure tangible ROI by creating brand attention, awareness and understanding, in this case clearly achieving the MER’s goal of converting that into increased sales. Supporting social media and PR activities together with new high-impact shelf merchandising units in Halfords work as part of an ongoing integrated marketing strategy aimed at continuing to drive sales even further.

Below are some behind-the-scenes images from the Merticulous Photoshoot, a huge thank you to James Pearman, director of The Performance Company for the loan of his Audi R8 and Mercedes CLS350.