Awards case study: Learn how MAN managed to gain 363,384 organic impressions with a increase in web traffic by 98%

Find out how Gravity Global helped MAN win for best brand initiative for its brand development process and response during Covid-19.

About the client company

MAN Truck and Bus is a leading global truck, van and bus manufacturer. Founded in 1915 and now headquartered in Munich, MAN has been leading the way in commercial vehicle innovation. It is now an integral contributor to the development of technology within the industry. Although a brand leader in Germany, MAN in the UK has a market share of 10% and is fighting for share against strong competitors like DAF, Volvo, Scania, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and IVECO.

MAN products and services are designed to make the business of moving a more rewarding experience, easier, more efficient, more reliable and sustainable. 

Strategy – broader business issues the company is facing

MAN was a brand struggling to engage its audience in the UK. In 2019, it held a market share of 10%, however, its SOV was falling significantly short at just 5%. This created cause for concern as manufacturers in this industry rely heavily on brand loyalty and advocates. Drivers will often influence the buying decision of their feet managers so growing brand affinity with both of these audiences was critical. 

However, MAN didn’t have a clear positioning within the market, there was a lack of clarity amongst customers and staff for what the brand stood for, and therefore a lack of resonance with its audience. 

During the research, Gravity Global carried out it became clear that while its audience are incredibly proud of what they do keeping the nation moving, they also often feel under-served and unappreciated. Therefore, it was important that MAN’s creative territory recognised the effort that workers in this industry put in. It was this insight that led to the development of ‘Superhuman’. 

The campaign needed to be disruptive to spark conversation and grow SOV, while being empathetic and understanding towards the audience. The Superhuman theme was also required to support the launch of a new truck announced in February 2020 but this was short-lived as the WHO announced Covid-19 had turned into a global pandemic. 

The outbreak meant that the challenges Gravity Global faced changed in just a matter of days. Gravity Global was no longer just aiming to build SOV and affinity towards the brand. MAN was considering whether to stop all activity. They recommended pivoting the brand platform to support a Covid-19 response.

Objectives of the campaign

  • Grow MAN SOV to 10% 
  • Create an ownable, single-minded creative proposition that recognises and appreciates the work of MAN customers
  • Maintain affinity and a positive sentiment within conversations around the brand during Covid-19

The target audience 

Truck, van drivers and fleet managers within the UK.

Media, channels or techniques used

Gravity Global created customer testimonial-based assets with a shift in narrative switching the emphasis from selling pre-covid to one of support during the crisis. 

The campaign included: 

  • Display ads – both testimonial and informational 
  • Video from real drivers and fleet managers telling their own stories 
  • Outdoor digital posters at motorway service stations 
  • Email marketing 
  • Campaign landing pages
  • SEO 
  • PR 
  • Social posts 
  • Blog posts from the CEO of MAN UK showing his personal support

The primary channel used was social media supported by a presence within the commercial vehicle trade press. This ensured the message was reaching a wider audience of decision makers and those who are not actively following MAN on social media. Its trade press activity quickly pivoted away from a selling narrative as the crisis broke to messages of support including open letters and messages of pride towards the industry. Gravity Global also placed messages of support for drivers while they were at work. 

Gravity Global used video screens outside service stations to thank drivers for their SUPERHUMAN effort. This was a key time to communicate with drivers and oer encouragement as most service stations had closed washroom facilities and hot food restaurants, adding a further challenge to an already dicult job. 

Activity was linked back to a microsite superhumaneffort.co.uk which housed the driver stories and also offered sources of key MAN and industry information for drivers and eet managers.

Timescales of the campaign 

  • Customer Research: November 2019
  • Superhuman brand development: December 2019 – January 2020
  • Relaunch brand and support new truck launch: February 2020 
  • Comms pivot to Covid-19 response: March 
  • Superhuman Effort Covid-19 Response live: April 2020

Results

With sales unlikely during the crisis the success or failure of this campaign was going to be measured primarily on SOV. Having begun the year on a 5% SOV its activity increased its SOV by 140% taking MAN to a total 12% SOV. Placed into context this was the largest increase in SOV from any of the truck manufacturers. In addition to the increase in SOV its activity drove over 20,000 organic video views across social media. 

Gravity Global achieved 363,384 organic impressions and a cumulative reach of over 200,000 through its owned channels. Market Share increased 96% to 19.6% in May and 23% to 12.3% of total UK market in June 2020. 

  • Web traffic increased by 98% during the campaign period 
  • Customer sentiment improved by 52% with positive posts on social

“It’s been an incredibly tough start to the year for many sectors and this includes our own. Despite this, we developed a cut through brand campaign that could pivot across our changing needs including an unexpected crisis! The campaign exceeded expectations on share of voice and positive feedback from customers and staff.”

Martin Pickering , Marketing Communications Manager MAN Truck and Bus UK

B2B Marketing Awards 2020

This submission won the award for 'Best brand initiative' at the B2B Marketing Awards this year.

Find out who made the shortlist here!

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