Google for Work
The Retail Agility Challenge
As a long-term partner to Google, Man Bites Dog was tasked with creating an innovative campaign that would engage decision makers in the hard-to-reach retail sector. Man Bites Dog’s strategy took the C-Suite of the UK’s largest retailers back to the shop floor with an immersive event concept which enabled retail leaders to discover how Google for Work could work for them.
Google for Work’s suite of productivity tools, the G-Suite, is the main challenger to Microsoft’s workplace technology dominance. It’s designed to help peoplework the way they live and provides an unparalleled user experience. But all major retailers have an incumbent technology provider and inspiring prospects to change the status quo isn’t easy.
To communicate the benefits of the software to their prospective customers, Google needed to adopt a smart marketing idea that would live up to the brand’s reputation for innovation.
We had to create a strategy that would tackle these challenges head-on and deliver direct sales by making C-Suite retail executives see the the immediate impact Google for Work could make across their business.
Our insight revealed that C-Suite engagement with Google’s product wasn’t a problem, but conversion was. C-Suite leaders weren’t inspired to make the leap to Google because they saw the brand as too innovative for the shop floor. Many prospects struggled to envision how the tools could change their organisations today so they weren’t motivated to “Go Google” to build a better tomorrow.
The Man Bites Dog strategy to solve Google’s problem was to create an immersive event concept with enough draw to get the C-Suite in the room and let executives discover for themselves how the products delivered Google’s brand promise.
Our team built a fictional department store, branded ‘Merchants’, that was failing to keep pace with the demands of modern retail. We created a competition for retailers based on the format of an escape room, with CEOs, CIOs and other board members from each retailer taken literally back to the shop floor: as Merchants’ staff, working in teams to solve their company’s problems.
The shop floor zone put them in the shoes of their frontline staff, with challenges such as dressing mannequins in thelatest fashions and implementing new product regulations. Executives were then ‘promoted’ to regional managers, solving group-wide challenges including stock allocation and rotas to manage staff sickness. Finally, participants headed to the boardroom for an in-depth brainstorm – instantly applying key learnings and innovations to their own business.
This highly topical challenge brought together business and technology leaders from the UK’s largest retailers and gave them a whirlwind tour of Google for Work’s applicability to retail. Armed with just their uniforms, mobile access to Google tools and forty minutes to make a difference, C-Suite executives discovered for themselves how Google for Work could benefit their own organisation, today.
This innovative experience excited so much interest that it enabled Google for Work’s senior team to engage in more than 30 hours of face-to-face discussion with more than 150 senior executives from 50 of the UK’s largest retailers, including Vodafone, Aldi and Ikea.
The strategy’s success raised the profile of Google for Work and drove home its relevance to the retail sector: CEOs and CIOs from prospect companies were so impressed that they began explaining how the toolswould benefit the business to each other. In addition to these relationship-building opportunities, our strategy also generated rich conversations with Google’sleaders about how their products could be improved to fit retailers’ practical business needs.
Top journalists from The FT, The Grocer, Drapers and Retail Week came to the event media day to experience the challenge for themselves, leading to exclusive media coverage in our leading business and sector media targets. The quality of the experience further enhanced Google’s reputation with key strategic partners including PwC, Accenture, IDC, Gartner and Planet Retail.
Our strategy was so successful that Google collaborated with PwC to create a global rollout programme called The Concept Store so that they could scale the idea into every Google market globally.
delivered in 2 weeks
Pipeline target delivered
- “Man Bites Dog’s Retail Agility Challenge concept really cracked our strategic problem – it enabled retail leaders to discover for themselves what Google can do for them as well as bringing a truly unique and memorable Google vibe.” Barnaby Voss, Marketing Lead UK&I, Google for Work
- “Man Bites Dog’s Supermarket C-Suite campaign was a great concept. It really demonstrated Google for Work’s products and produced a superb return on investment.” Judges’ comments, CorpComms Awards (Winner, Best Live Event)
- “The Merchant’s store helped us take people through three stages of our sales process in one go. Participants got to know Google, found out about our top retail use cases and then started applying these to their own businesses in one hugely productive session.” Barnaby Voss, Marketing Lead UK&I, Google for Work