If your grandma has bought anything from a national newspaper classified ad recently it’s very likely she was covered by the SHOPS promise.
The SHOPS scheme protects a customer’s cash when they place an order with any newspaper advertiser showing SHOPS membership. If the advertiser goes bust or fails to deliver on the order, SHOPS ensures reimbursement to the customer. Older readers might know SHOPS by its original name, MOPS, which was set up in the 1970s to combat the cowboy operators of that period.
We were engaged to run a brand audit on all SHOPS marketing materials – from their logo to their website and everything in between. Independent consumer research showed that awareness of the SHOPS scheme was declining, which isn’t good news for newspapers, advertisers or readers.
We recommended a total redesign of the SHOPS logo to give it greater visibility on the page and to improve legibility. For any chosen width, the new logo has more visual presence because it’s square – the old one was a wide, shallow rectangle.
To go with the launch of the new logo, we crafted some very punchy newspaper advertising to communicate the core SHOPS promise; the kind of advertising that would cut through all the surrounding clutter. We took a very bold and direct approach to capture the attention of readers.
As part of the brand audit, we then wrote and designed an A5 booklet for all newspaper staff, ad agencies and advertisers. The booklet had to communicate the SHOPS promise quickly and clearly, with a little bit of past, present and future thrown in for good measure. To keep things rolling, we also took much of the booklet content and built a branded PowerPoint presentation for the SHOPS operations director to take to all of his meetings.
The original brand audit was completed with the design and construction of a content-managed website that communicated with all four audiences: readers, newspaper staff, advertisers and agencies. The website launched with a brand new domain name for SHOPS: shopspromise.com
In early 2014, YouGov research confirmed that awareness of SHOPS amongst the target audience had risen from 33% to 44%. Of all those surveyed, 61% said they had seen the new SHOPS logo. Respondents also reported that they were six times more likely to buy from an advertiser if they were a SHOPS member. We had begun to reverse the downward trend for the organisation, thanks to the brand audit and the new brand communications.
We’re still working with SHOPS, helping them to raise their brand profile amongst all four of their target audiences. Our next target is 60% consumer awareness, which will be achieved by new advertising and marketing.
Tell your gran she’s safe to buy those slippers she’s been eyeing up.
Update: the national newspapers behind SHOPS decided to close the scheme in late 2017 for undisclosed reasons.