|When Ogilvy Toronto won the Cogeco Cable business in Autumn 2002, the business was under significant pressure on several fronts.|
As a Cable TV and Internet provider in the principal markets of Ontario and Quebec, Cogeco's subscriber base was a distant second to larger providers like Rogers Communication. Cogeco had also operated both markets autonomously creating operational inefficiencies, which competitors were aggressively exploiting. Furthermore the classic "satellite versus cable" wars were at their height, with Canada's largest telco-and most established brand-Bell Canada a direct satellite competitor. Finally, brand research had concluded that the Cogeco brand was not seen as innovative in the category — a veritable death-knell for a technology brand.
The Ogilvy assignment became multi-faceted as the agency attempted to address some fundamental brand and business issues whilst, in the short-term, continuing to pragmatically drive Cogeco revenue through TV and Internet subscriptions.
An earlier positioning "There's More in Your Cable" was shelved for being undifferentiated, operationally difficult to execute and flawed because it was grounded in the product and not the consumer experience. Ultimately Cogeco chose "Life's Just Better With (Cogeco) Cable" which better articulated Cogeco's desire to deliver a more manageable, more rewarding and simpler customer experience. Creative assignments-principally direct mail, direct-response TV and radio-were quickly put in market behind this new proposition. In a seven-month period following the awarding of the business, Ogilvy developed six unique DRTV executions and seven acquisition DM campaigns all whilst tackling other business concerns.
Cogeco was also attempting to quickly centralize their operations from two autonomous regions into one Montreal-based headquarter. Ogilvy was called on to assist with operational areas like employee education and branding to ensure the "promise" of the advertising was manifest in all interactions with Cogeco. Exhaustive employee interviews revealed a strong corporate pride but challenges surrounding tying performance metrics to the new positioning. Ogilvy proposed a robust educational program to educate employees on the new corporate philosophy and to dispel any natural apprehension surrounding change.
When I left Ogilvy in Summer 2003, the Cogeco assignment was rapidly gaining momentum. Deeper analytics were being put in place to be more mindful of diminishing budgets, media efficiencies were also being targeted and a robust customer segmentation study was underway. These fundamentals were driving real business results too. Subscriber acquisitions had doubled versus the previous year and Ogilvy's efforts were lauded as a significant contributor to that success.