Reference Cases

All of our clients have an international scope. Our core experience is built around business to business, and lifestyle consumer goods sectors.

Companies and clients with whi~sparkworch the founder has personally worked include:

Business-to-Business:

Consumer Lifestyle:

Psion

Dr.Dunner

Philips

Apia

DTC Worldwide

Chateau Des Charmes Wines Ltd

IBM

Winexcite

Techmar

Wine Logistics International

Shell

 

Every Angle

 

Xircom-Intel

 

Chateau des Charmes Wines Ltd(Canada) – Accelerate market growth. Public Relations.

Challenge:
The challenge was to move product to generate revenue quickly while establishing the brand for Canadian wines in a negative market environment. The company was a start-up and had limited funds for marketing. All wines were sold by 600 government controlled liquor stores and sales personnel had limited skills or interest in selling wines. All advertising was highly controlled and point of sale material was virtually not allowed at this time. The question was

Solution:
The strategy was built on three pillars:

  • Access: Using the press – radio, TV, newspaper – to provide third party coverage and references
  • Message: Romance of traditional wine-make from Europe migrates to Canada to pioneer quality in Niagara
  • Motivation: Unusual events created to challenge pre-conceived ideas and snobbery attitudes around wines, inspire pride and patriotism, and to trigger sales around specific branded products.

A number of compelling, fun, exciting public relations concepts were developed and executed over a period of five years. For example, regular consumer products review show producer was persuaded to do a blind tasting of 6 European wines and 1 Canadian wine, live on TV. To the surprise of the participants the Canadian wine was chosen as the best. Five major events were created annually. Low budget executions were achieved through soliciting creative partnerships and co-sponsorships, which included hotels, newspapers, airlines, trade offices, hotels, car manufacturers and food purveyors. The events were as follows:

  • Beating the French to Paris with Gamay Beaujolais Nouveau from Canada. Pacific Airlines flew the wine. Moevinpick Paris hosted the event. Toronto Star photographer captured the image of two French wine experts toasting the new vintage above a bottle of the wine, framed by the Arche de Triumph in the background.
  • Five continent Teleconference Wine Tasting Event: Over 1,000 persons tasted the new vintage simultaneously. A CBC commentator facilitated inputs from wine experts at each event in Rome, Paris, New York, Ottawa, Vancouver, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Toronto. Holiday Inn provided the food and the venue. Air Canada provided the shipping for the wines.
  • Transatlantic Video Conference London, UK to Toronto, Canada: 60 of the top British wine experts were invited to a blind tasting of approximately 50 Canadian wines. 5 leading experts including Hugh Johnson, Serina Sutcliff, and Oz Clark interviewed the Canadian winemakers and then they were interviewed by the Canadian press via teleconference link (provided by Teleglobe Canada and BT). This end-to-end link was televised on national TV.
  • Cross Canada Car Race – East to West, West to East. A race between a British Columbian winery and Chateau des Charmes. The aim was to raise the awareness of Canada’s quality wine growing regions. Cadillac provided the cars, Pacific Airlines provide the air transportation and featured the wines on board.
  • Ontario Wine Festival - Ontario Place – This was an event initiated by Mr. Lindsay to highlight the positioning of the Ontario quality wine produces, geographically located on the same parallel as California, Bordeaux and Florence. He also used this event to pioneer a new retailing concept accepted within government-controlled legislation to sell wines at shows.

Results:

Expense to Revenue Ratios 1:500+: Each major event accelerated sales revenues within the 8 weeks with followed, achieving Expense to Revenue (E:R) ratios in excess of 1:500.

National TV News & Front Page Press: The volume and quality of press generated built a brand equity that has lasted over twenty years since.

Strong Market Position: Within five years of starting this approach, with little marketing budget, this company was established as one of the country’s leading wineries.




Philips Components, Imaging (The Netherlands) – Positioning. Market research. Messaging.

Problem:

The positioning of a highly innovative product failed to win sales and gain market traction when launched.Customers did not understand the value proposition or the value of the features.Improvements were required for a product re-launch within 90 days from the initiation of the project.

Solution:
Customer research was conducted in two phases.The first phase revealed a need to improve the messaging and packaging. Research indicated that the marketing of these products was won or lost on the retail shelves.An effective retail box design was half the battle.The feedback was used to create of several product names, positioning statements, communicational elements, visuals as well as pricing, to be market tested.Focus groups were conducted in Milan, London and New York.
Results:
Produced clear positioning strategy, new product name, design guidelines for new packaging communication and imagery.The newly re-packaged product was released into the market achieved improved results:

  • It is selling better and easier than before,
  • Higher value at the same volume in increasingly competitive market
  • Increased from less than 5% to over 10% of the total product mix from the vendor
  • Well received well by trade and recognized as a real improvement compared to previous top line models.
  • End-user perceived value-add over other models is much clearer.

As there are many other factors at play that influence the total sales volume, one cannot conclude that these improvements were a result of the concept design alone, but clearly it was a key contributor.




Psion PLC (United Kingdom)Market Positioning. Messaging. Market Introduction. Packaging. Marcom Creative. Channels

Challenge:

Psion Connect was a newly named networking division of the company without a marketing director. Within 8 weeks a new range of products was going to be launched. There was a need to re-define its market focus, clear positioning, a compelling proposition, and a messaging platform. A market introduction plan had to be developed to support the strategy into the channels, press, and for customers. A talented marketing team required direction, and coaching.>

Solution:
Won provided an interim marketing director. The marketing team was brought together to create a product marketing brief and to agree on a market introduction plan process. During the process gaps in customer knowledge were identified. Market research acquired and custom work was conducted to fill in remaining gaps. Quantitative research indicated several potentially rich market windows, and customer feedback revealed the core value propositions to be
communicated.

Results:
Research findings were integrated into each marketing element including channels, and communications; new Product name, look & feel re-design; packaging design; creative for ads, brochures, web site, and white papers. See before and after shots below.




Global 500 IT company (US) – Growth Plan. Mission. Vision. Objectives. Market Plan. Re-structure. Channels. Messaging.

Challenge:
The Company needed to strengthen its market position and accelerate revenue growth in a specific European geography. All divisions approached the market independently, but the circumstances required focus, cost efficiencies and increased effectiveness. The marketing team needed seasoned guidance urgently. The task was to identify local market opportunities, internal organizational blockages, and then based on this, to develop a singular IBM strategy into the market and use this to initiate the change process – within 6 months.


Solution:
Won provided an interim marketing director. The marketing managers from each division were pulled together to produce a single market approach with a unified entity to include IBM Global Services, software, server group and PC group. The interim manager worked with the country management team to develop a long-term vision, mission and strategy. This was linked into operations plans, and a re-structuring to align the organization behind the strategy.

Results: The growth plan formed the backbone to the transformation process which followed. This included:

  • Building linkages between the business and marketing strategy and the daily operations;
  • Building understanding and buy-in to the marketing strategy and three-year business objectives;
  • Re-structuring the marketing and channel organization to align resources in support of the objectives.
  • Action aligned behind a 3-year market plan



Global Marketing Research Company (United Kingdom based) – Branding. Messaging. Growth Plan. This company is a worldwide market research provider specialized in emerging technologies, with offices in America, Asia, and headquarters in the United Kingdom.
Challenge:
The founders wished to build a growth platform for sustainable, profitable growth over the next 5 years. The brand required updating. An objective, seasoned perspective was required to provide reflection, to act as a sounding board, and to provide research on customer perceptions.


Solution:
Won provided strategic business facilitation and strategic branding services. Project elements included:

Growth Readiness Assessment:A three-week process during which customers, employees and suppliers were interviewed using a structured process to identify opportunities and blockages and a final report produced;
Strategic workshop: A facilitated process in which Won worked with the founders in a content rich, fact based working session (growth readiness report, personal experience of participants). This where positioning, mission, vision, principles, objectives definition were discussed and drafted.
Spinning: A facilitated on-going follow-up process where the founders could call up on an ad hoc basis for a variety of purposes including: inputs on strategic choices to be made, to sound out approaches to internal management issues, evaluate potential acquisitions, etc..
Results:

  • Clear positioning, mission, vision, business objectives defined and deployed.
  • Corporate restructuring to align resources behind strategy with impact on human resources
  • A new logo and branding guidelines were produced.
  • Profit model was revised to translate vale-added into profits
  • The growth plan provides a map for daily operations, which helped the company remove barriers to expansion, re-focus its energies, and increase its profit margins.
  • These activities combined with clear, strong execution by the management team very quickly resulted in accelerated revenue growth at rates much faster than experienced in the previous four years.



Business Service Provider (BSP): Positioning. Strategy. Messaging. Customer Acquisition service provider.

Challenge:
This business is at the heart of a newly emerging, rapidly developing market. Market perceptions of this space are confused and complex, but the demand for the services is high. They needed to differentiate themselves from competitors, increase profitability, build a clear strong market position, increase their competitive advantage and fuel growth. Differences between how business units linked strategy into operations weakened the company’s ability to grow. The client keeps its management team mean and lean, each with profit and loss accountability. For this reason they have chosen to outsource strategic marketing. The assignment is on going.

Solution:
Virtual Management Team Member: Support the management team as an outside-in input source to corporate business and marketing strategy.

Strategic Workshops:Quarterly multi-day facilitated sessions with the global management team to work out strategy, resolve emerging issues, team building, coaching, developing new opportunities.
Executive Support: Ad hoc coaching support to business unit managers and the global management team.

Investor strategy and investor network related activities.
Recruitment support to identify new hires
Results:
Revenue Growth: Within 6 months of defining the strategy the client sales pipeline grew rapidly, sales cycles shortened, business with existing clients expanded, global teaming improved, and profitability increased.

Growth Plan: Re-positioning, vision, mission, marketing strategy defined
Resource Alignment: Organizational re-structuring plan
Branding Communications: Strategy, internal and external communications.




IT Software and Services Market Role-Out (The Netherlands)Positioning. Branding. Marketing Strategy. Growth Plan. Mission. Vision. Funding. Messaging. Product Marketing.

Challenge:
This was a market rollout stage company with a highly innovative supply chain visibility software and services solution. This was a green fields market where the need for the solution was latent and the pain it solved was real and relevant. However, the company had not succeeded in translating the value of this solution into clear, explicit terms to which customers at all levels of management could easily relate. This made the selling process difficult, complicated and sales cycles long. The value-add of each aspects of the service and software were transparent and therefore did not translate into profits. There were 25 employees. All resources were devoted to sales and product development. There were no funds nor time to hire a full time marketing director. The assignment was to kick-start the market expansion process with a branding strategy and new sources of money.

Solution:
Growth Readiness Assessment: This was a three-week process in which customers, suppliers and employees were interviewed to identify opportunities, blockages to growth and to formulate a basis for valuation. The report was supplemented by an independent financial and technical audit. The final report was provided to investment bankers based on which investments were made. It was also used to guide future operations.

Outsourced Marketing Director: Won provided a virtual member of the management team to fill in the marketing director role for a short intensive time period. This was used to kick-start the marketing process, coach a young team, and provide a sounding board to the management team and advisory board.

Mission & Vision Session: This was a facilitated session, which included all members of the company. It started with a guided visualization, followed by an interactive brainstorming session. Results where posted under headings on flip charts around the room. After eight hours the group came to agreement on company vision, mission, principles and key business goals.

Results:
Growth plan was created and communicated.
Investors were acquired
Positioning was clearly articulated and communicated to the market
Marketing team grew effectively into their roles.
Strategic alliances were developed.




Dr. Dunner (Switzerland) – Re-Branding. Logo. Positioning. Package design. Brochures. Website design.


Apia (Switzerland) – New Brand. Brand Identity. Logo. Brand Guide. Positioning. Package Design. Ads. Brochures. Website design. The assignment was to create an on-line, off-line catalogue brand for health food supplements, targeting European women around forty years of age. Currently this brand is sold in several countries across northern Europe.
Solution:
Branding Session: This involved a facilitated one-day brainstorm session with the client, and customers. Participants were put into teams and guided through varies exercises including: creating image boards from cut and pasted pictures and words from magazines; statement brainstorms; competitor positioning perception poles. The outputs produced a very clear indication of the spirit and the look and feel desired behind the brand.
Branding Brief: Results from the branding session were used in several follow-up sessions with the creative and strategic branding team. The brand personality was defined. A visualiser worked with the team to communicate aspects of the strategy. Pay-off lines and guidelines were worked out and proposed to the client.
Results:
Logo, Tag Line and Branding Guide: Produced and deployed
Web Site: Designed and implemented




Dr. Dunner:

Challenge:
Dr. Dunner is a health food supplement brand with over 70 different products sold in apothecaries across Europe and in health food stores in North America. The brand was acquired over 20 years earlier. Packaging design varied widely across the line weakening its brand strength on retail shelves. A new innovation was about to be introduced on the way the products were produced. This was seen as a good reason to initiate a change. The assignment was to take a respected brand with over 50 years on the market and modernize it and create consistent look and feel.

Results:
Brand Identity, Logo, Tag Line, Branding Guide: New logo, pay-off line, images, text, fonts, do’s and don’ts deployed globally to ensure consistency across the product line.
Digital Visual Production: Letterhead, business card, brochure, shelf-takers, etc.

Web Site Design.

Package Design: Shots and graphical images designed into over 70 box designs./span>



Winexcite (The Netherlands) – New Brand. Strategy. Business plan. Website. The assignment was to develop a compelling branding experience to support on-line sales of wines with off line food and wine events.

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