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News Plus 21 Jun 2021 - 3 min read

RAMS roars back: Marketing boss Christian Johansson reverses decline with brand and 'full funnel performance' push

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

Everybody loves Raymond: More people are considering RAMS and sales are up after brand push.

After consideration for Westpac-owned home loan business RAMS fell by 5 per cent in 2020, marketing boss Christian Johansson knew he had to reposition the product to cut through an increasingly cluttered market. The new campaign is paying off. Four weeks in, consideration was halfway back. Within the next two weeks it should be almost fully returned – and more importantly sales leads are soaring.

What you need to know:

  • After a 5 per cent decline in consideration for the RAMS brand in 2020, Head of Marketing Christian Johansson was worried.
  • In response, the brand is repositioning as a specialist home loan business, to avoid getting caught up in the "clutter of big banks".
  • Now consideration is quickly returning – and sales leads are up more than 100 per cent.

Making it count

One of the more recognisable home loan brands in Australia, known primarily for its long-serving mascot Raymond the Ram, Westpac-owned RAMS hit a speed bump in 2020.

External research showed a 5 per cent decline in consideration for the brand, with the news setting off "alarm bells" for Head of Marketing Christian Johansson.

RAMS had consolidated its media and creative with Publicis in March 2019, with media led by Spark Foundry and creative with Saatchi & Saatchi.

Speaking to Mi3, Johansson said the brand's internal data and analytics team had been looking into how RAMS stacked up when comparing brand awareness to consumer consideration.

"We'd had a really strong response when it came to awareness, a lot tied to Raymond in our brand work, but of those we surveyed nationally ahead of our latest work, 40 per cent were unclear on our proposition and 12 per cent preferred to deal with bigger banks," Johansson said.

"Additionally, 42 per cent said clear support and dedicated service were key when considering a home loan, so we knew this was about repositioning not a revolution."

For Johansson, a self-confessed "brand obsessed" marketer, the answer was simple – double down on brand investment. A new campaign via Saatchi & Saatchi was created – and seems to be working.

Pulling levers

Rams has seen a consideration increase of 2 percentage points after the campaign's first four weeks.

Johansson said the brand will continue to focus on growing Home Loan consideration to year end and that leads are tracking ahead of plan and up significantly (110%) year on year.

RAMS is now working on performance aspects – but across the funnel, not just the lower end.

"You can always apply performance to brand, often marketers confuse performance with offer, whereas for me it's just a part of the consideration stage," said Johansson.

"We apply performance across the brand journey right through to customer acquisition but it used from a top down perspective, not solely focused in on one area of the funnel.

"If brand is doing what it’s meant to then you’ve moved the consumer into the consideration stage already. Offer can then help expedite or influence a customer for that particular purchase."

Johansson said RAMS has also built optimisation models that give it the agility to quickly shift spend between channels based on business impacts.

"We marketing strategy through a lens of commercial acumen, rather than following market trend or what competitors are moving towards - and that links back to being able to view the impact of every dollar," Johansson said.

"For example, we optimise TV performance quarterly and continue to track customer website traffic and leads as a proxy. We are on a continual improvement pathway, and with the new creative proposition, we expect to push this further from an ROI perspective."

Johansson said the business also applies those model across search and display, though static outdoor remains a challenge.

Think local

The marketing boss said the optimisation approach is primarily underpinned by its rich data and audience segmentation with a strong local targeting focus, which is underpinned by early adoption of geo-location services.

"We have always been focused on targeting our key customer segments in digital channels to consider RAMS for their home loan. It is part of our multi-channel media plan, with digital playing a significant role (media weighting) in the mix." Johansson said.

"As a franchise model, we've been able to build a lot of customer data and understand penetration in key territories by involving ourselves in early partnerships with the likes of Google Maps and Facebook Business.

"This meant using location services, first and third-party data to build an understanding of the where and who our audiences are. Once we developed those segments we replicated them to fit into each media model."

With the new brand push and positioning tracking well in market, Johansson said RAMS is on track for another and another 2 percentage points gain by end of July – which should keep the franchisees happy.

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