Lookers PLC, Lookers transition campaign

In Autumn 2015 Benfield Motor Group was bought by Lookers PLC. Benfield had a strong brand presence in the region having worked to build its brand for a number of years, creating a strong retail experience meaning strong consumer confidence and long term retention. Clearly with such a trusted reputation, Lookers wanted to protect this and reassure customers the acquisition would be positive and beneficial to them.

The Works were engaged to work with the in-house team to develop a staged approach campaign that would introduce the new Lookers name and brand.

Stage one - Reassurance 
The primary objectives of this campaign: inform current Benfield customers of the acquisition; reassure them they could expect the same exceptional service and gently introduce Lookers to potential customers, as an unfamiliar brand.

TV storyboards and concepts were developed that retained the essence of Benfield - language, visual style, voiceover and music - but also introduced aspects of what Lookers would bring to the party. Terminology used included ‘Benfield is now part of the Lookers family’, ‘sharing good news’ and ‘same exceptional service’ - key to creating the sense of a positive change.

To launch the campaign, we produced a 60 second video marrying recognisably Benfield visuals with Lookers employees that was emailed to existing customers with a link to an exclusive preview, giving them a sense of being part of the change. A 30 second version aired on TV across the region during December 2015, supported by a heavyweight radio campaign.

This was followed by a Winter Clearance campaign, retaining the same look and feel but introducing a ‘frosty’ graphic element that was used on TV creative, point of sale and other collateral. We didn’t go for a ‘hard sell’ approach as this would have jarred with how Benfield customers would have previously seen ‘sale’ campaigns and the reassurance approach that we had taken.

Stage two – Introducing Lookers
In February 2016, the Lookers brand presence was elevated above Benfield. All existing Benfield style footage was removed from the TV commercial and replaced with Lookers content. Although the familiarity of the same voiceover artist remained, the language changed to become in line with Lookers’ new strapline: ‘for you, for life’. The campaign began to move away from ‘relationships’ and towards ‘life’ which offers a broader scope of messaging and uses. ’Benfield, part of the Lookers family’ was replaced with ‘Lookers, the new name for Benfield’ but a reassuring tone was still at the heart of the content. A new music track was also commissioned to give Lookers its own sonic identity. A series of radio commercials were recorded injecting some Lookers personality that would resonate with a variety of demographics and customer types.

Stage three – Lookers The next stage of the transition process is to create a completely Lookers style and brand that can be applied to anything from radio ads to servicing, online marketing to inductions. We hope to build a strong brand that everyone from customers to staff and stakeholders alike can believe in and get behind. A brand that is trusted, honest, warm and professional, and a business that puts people first.

The team at The Works have been instrumental in enabling a seamless transition from Benfield to Lookers branding in a very short space of time. As an integrated creative agency The Works are not only very flexible, adaptable and professional but genuinely a group of people who really care about delivering results on time, on budget and on brand.

Heike O'Leary
Group Marketing Director, Lookers PLC

It's great to have been able to work alongside Heike and the team at the very start of their Lookers journey! We're looking forward to taking the Lookers brand on further.

Barry Pollock