In 2017 Optus announced a strategy to invest >$1b in regional Australia and increased their media spend to match Telstra at ~36% SOV. A goliath move that challenged Telstra’s network superiority and market share.
To combat Optus, Belong was deployed to provide a value alternative to regional Australians.
To provoke regional Australians to switch, they created a bespoke data set to identify market opportunity, addressable audience and channels of purchase influence, a comparative creative message and sustained eSOV.
The result? Increased brand awareness and consideration, and internal sales expectations significantly exceeding targets.
Win share of market for Belong in Regional Australia
In 2017, Optus announced its strategy to invest over $1b in regional Australia1. In addition to a major network upgrade, Optus increased its marketing spend to match Telstra in 2020 and 2021. With improved network and parity SOV, regional share of market increased over the proceeding 5 years to lead Telstra within ‘value’ customer segments.
Belong had not traditionally invested with sustained significance in regional markets and consequentially enjoyed a tiny fragment of SOV or SOM.
The challenge was to take on Optus, using the Belong brand as a value competitor, to win back mobile market share.
Better network coverage at a brilliantly affordable price
While network coverage isn’t top of mind for metro city dwellers, it’s an ongoing issue for regional Australians.
As the team explored this key driver of choice, it became clear Belong had a hidden strength, one that mattered less in previously metro-orientated strategies – they run on the Telstra 3G and 4G network: The. Best. Regional. Network. In. Australia.
This was a unique promise they could legitimately make to our regional customers. Mobile coverage claims are a highly litigious issue. The team had to be legally certain they could claim a network advantage.
The Media Idea
The lean media budget wasn’t going to stretch far across all regional markets, so the team strategically selected markets where the opportunity was greatest.
To identify these markets, they built a custom data set by scraping competitor network footprints and pricing (all publicly available), first-party market share, and media broadcast signals, to arrive at our variables of interest.
- Provider network coverage
- Network speed test using M-LAB data • Media footprint
- Optus v Telstra v Belong
Price Per MB
- Optus v Telstra v Belong
- AQX spend by channel, by region
To understand variations in physical availability and the category’s retail sales footprint, ABS data was used to overlay population data. This allowed the team to pinpoint Belong’s network, price, and distribution advantage over Optus. Yielding an audience of XXXm people across eight key markets: Wollongong, Newcastle, Geelong, Bendigo, Gold Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Darwin.
Using Roy Morgan, 10% of this audience was identified as ‘considering purchasing a new phone plan’ over the coming 6 months which presented a total in market addressable (TAM) audience of XXX’000K people.
Applying the principles of Byron Sharp, the team sought a media derived eSOV increase to 13%, laying the conditions for market share growth.
The channel strategy continued the overarching brand media strategy to be “disruptively distinctive”. In this philosophy channel selection is prioritised against two criteria. Firstly, the channel must penetrate a maximum of the target audience. Secondly, the channel must win an unfair share of attention.
The team explored how audience behaviour differed by region and the role media channels played in path to purchase. Again, in variation to metro audiences, regional audiences differed in the channels that most significantly influence mobile purchase. For example, in Wollongong television was most influential, while in Bendigo it was newspaper inserts, and in Darwin, radio.
They then built market specific media plans tailoring our message to the channel and deployed with impact throughout the funnel. The superior value advantage meant Belong could compare against Optus – a rarity in telco advertising.
At a brand level, “carbon neutral mobile network coverage in the <local area>” was landed to increase contextual relevance. Media channels were selected that satisfied the criteria; TVC, large format OOH and special, guerrilla, retail, and street furniture OOH placements.
In lower funnel channels the value comparison was expressed through the messaging platform of “get 4x more data than Optus”.
The campaign was flighted in two phases across four regions each, allowing the team to test and optimise between phases.
- Phase one ran from 17th October 2021 – 1st January 2022, in Geelong, Bendigo, Gold coast and Townsville.
- Phase two ran from 30th January 2022 till 10th April 2022 in Darwin, Newcastle, Cairns, Wollongong.
- 1.3% market share growth
- 18% growth in net sales
- 63% brand awareness growth in Phase 1
- 45% brand awareness growth in Phase 2
- 21% eSOV delivery
- 18% growth in cost per order objectives