Lucy Forbes
Lucy Forbes 11 November 2015

Digital Strategies Creating Better Audience Connections

Brands, like The Women's Institute, have used digital to connect with audiences more effectively.

The Women’s Institute (WI)’s participation in the BBC’s Great British Menu and recent website redesign got us thinking about how brands have used digital to connect with audiences more effectively.


As an organisation which was formed in 1915, five years ago the WI had many members in 60 to 80 age group and was viewed as old fashioned. Over the past five years the WI have been on a journey, beginning with a rebrand, to recruit younger members.

The rebrand included a change from including ‘Women’s Institute’ in the logo, to only WI. The result is a more eye-catching, cleaner logo. The tagline ‘inspiring women’ was also introduced, giving prospects a clear reason to join.

  • 20,000 women per year joined in the following two years, predominantly aged 25-40
  • Average age of members is still coming down
  • 93% members are now 45 and over

However, a website redesign was needed to continue their recruitment campaign for under 45s. Half of the visitors to the WI site were reaching it via mobile but it was not mobile responsive.

A large proportion of these visitors are likely to be younger people – as owners of significantly more smartphones than the over 55s (87% of 25-34 and 80% of 35-54 year olds – source: Statista).

By introducing mobile responsiveness to the site, they are reaching this audience more effectively and joining the WI is now easier. As each of the 6,600 groups in the UK can upload information so potential members can find the details they need and join the organisation on-the-go from any device.

  • 22% rise in traffic since launch
  • 23% rise in new users since launch

Combining this website relaunch with PR exposure gained from the Great British Menu has been a clever marketing tactic that should provide positive results long term.

However, the WI are not the only brand which have had to rethink or reposition their digital offering aiming to connect with their audience more effectively. Philips, Grants Whisky and ITV2 have all considered digital when updating their strategy.

Philips had used the same shield logo since 1934, but the brand wanted to ensure that it was reflecting their innovation in the ‘digital age’. The update was subtle – making the shield more curved, resulting in a softer and more modern design.

Philips logos

More importantly, a highly specified content marketing strategy followed this rebrand. Philips understood the importance of content marketing due to their customers’ journeys. In some markets their customers have an 80-90% digital journey.

Philip’s digital content is region and product specific, featuring brand and personal stories. The overall aim is to present themselves as locally relevant to the lives of each audience. Prior to this the company had many disparate digital strategies, without a worldwide plan connecting them together.

In September 2014 Grant’s Whisky moved from product marketing to a digital focus, reflecting the interests of the younger drinker. The 18 to 29 age group are the biggest users of social media across all platforms with 87% using Facebook, 37% Twitter and 53% Instagram (Source: Sprout Social).

Grant’s IOU campaign used organic content and social influencers to promote the brand and present the whisky as a drink for all occasions. The message showed how friends support each other across a range of circumstances. The brand had previously mostly used messaging only relating to quality.

The aim was to engage with and convert young drinkers considering upgrading to more premium brands. Impressively the campaign resulted in 600,000 new Facebook fans in the first 6 months.

ITV2 are another brand who are using digital to target a young audience. ITV2 is positioned as ITV network’s channel for 16 to 34 year olds.

In August 2015 the channel rebranded, with the aim of achieving a younger feel. Their new tagline ‘TV and then some’ is meant to reflect the fact that the channel has a presence across many digital platforms, that it is more than just TV.

The rebrand has coincided with a digital rethink, including an update of their social strategy. Their Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts are being updated in line with the new brand and Snapchat and Tumblr accounts have been launched.

ITV2 Tumblr screenshot

The channel’s move into these new social channels reflects the interests of their target audience. Both social media platforms have a high prevalence of users below the age of 25 and 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 (source: Tech Insider).

Accurate choices on paper, so it will be interesting to see how effective these channels prove to be for them in the coming months.

Does your digital strategy need updating?

  • Consider how your target market perceives your brand
  • Make sure your site is responsive to the devices your customer browses it on
  • Think about how digital links to customer journey
  • Be present where your target market has an online presence
  • Finally, can you reach a new audience by updating your strategy?

If you would like support with your digital marketing strategy or are considering a website redesign, get in touch with us today.


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