About the client

Originally a bland grey mouse became the favorite Number Two of the Czech electronic market after 5 years of proper brand communication. With clever campaigns and positioning, we gradually managed to create a leading brand and convince customers of the competition to give CZC.cz a try. This is our story.

Phase 1:
Geeks are Rising

The time before 2014 was a dark period for Czech online electronics sellers and their customers. The market was led by only one prominent brand, from which other e-shops were trying to learn anything that would help them find success. However, instead of inspirational and customer-oriented innovations, the e-shops mainly copied what they saw and became even more replaceable.

Similarly, CZC was another brand with no emotions and no attitude at that time. The company itself was on the market for 15 years. With 250 employees and 50 retail stores, CZC was an e-shop with the highest number of brick-and-mortar stores in the Czech Republic. Its turnover, however, was still ten times smaller than that of the main competition. What was the problem?

Looking for an Outside Partner

CZC realized its need to distinguish itself from other brands, but its marketing department was struggling with the preparation of everyday communication. The inability to take a step back and the lack of mental capacity didn't allow them to go deep and find that unique something they could bring their customers.

An effort is not enough sometimes. We found out the hard way back then. We lacked some competencies, and we were dealing with the problem for so long that we lost our drive. We couldn’t see the obvious solutions.Jitka Dvořáková, General Director of CZC.cz

This is why the upper management decided to ask the Brain One agency for help in Summer 2014. Our common goal became the redefinition of the brand and setting the direction of communication for the years to come.

We developed every campaign together with employees from all departments. We call this co-creating.
We cooperated with the company’s leaders to introduce brand to each of its 250 employees.

Two Companies, One Team

Usually, an agency gets a brief from a client. Based on the brief, the agency prepares several possible directions of communication. In Brain One, we chose a different approach. We opted for the so-called co-creation right from the beginning.

The agency brings a clear methodology and practical experience in a close form of cooperation, which ensures the whole project moves forward. The employees of various branches of the client’s company are involved in finding the solution as well because they know best what is authentic within the company

That is why we prepared a series of workshops for the company representatives, from retail sales managers to the top-level management of CZC, so we all could identify the unique proposition of the brand and its central concept of “party geeks, who are happy to help you.”

A Friendly Group of Geeks

This motif was not only authentic, but it was also in line with what we gathered from the communication with customers. Very often, we heard about a family member being asked for help with technological matters by the rest of the family. This is exactly what we wanted to make our own.

The customers want fair treatment. If your face is on TV, you can hardly deceive them.David Abraham, Head of Brand, CZC.cz

Spring 2017 campaign – showed how the individual employees of CZC love electronics… because being a geek is a lifestyle.
Autumn 2017 campaign – proved that adults should never stop playing.

The employees of CZC became the leitmotif of the campaign and the stars of all the ads. Customers could meet the faces they saw on TV at the individual retail stores. The most important part was the customers could sense the feeling of genuine joy and pride in the geekiness of the employees, as well as their willingness to give good advice without being influenced by the commission rate of the recommended solution.

We also bolstered the TV and online campaigns with new promotional merchandise. The interest of customers exceeded our expectations, and more than 3 500 T-shirts had to be made.

The Long-Term Growth of the Brand

Thanks to 3 years of building the concept of geeks throughout the campaigns, we managed to make CZC the most authentic brand on the Czech electronics market. Ongoing representative studies showed the gradual rise in awareness about the brand by 20 % while maintaining the ratio of marketing costs to turnover. Creativity and humor were the most effective elements in communication, and they were the key aspects of high ad recall.

Phase 2:
David versus Goliath

Nonetheless, a creative concept won’t last forever. It must grow and flourish along with the company. Even though the geek concept worked amazingly in the beginning, the brand had nowhere to go within the same direction in the third year. By that time, all customers knew that CZC is a group of friendly professionals.

We needed to find a new strong idea, which would follow up on the previous concept and would boost up communication. And we did - CZC as the proud Number Two, which had to try twice as much to succeed. The concept became the central motif of the brand in the future years.

An Archetype Close to the Czech Heart

There is a deep-rooted archetype of a weaker hero fighting against a hegemon in the Czech culture. Whether it is the story of David and Goliath, pre-war Czechoslovakia fighting against invaders, the beginnings of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) against the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), and other narratives, the Czechs have always had the tendencies to root for the unlikely winner against their much stronger opponent.

"We chose the same strategy for the new phase of the CZC brand. The goal was to create the idea in the minds of consumers that the choice is only Alza or CZC, concerning buying electronics online." Roman Zámečník, Strategy Director, Brain One.

We wanted to push the other brands out of the consideration of consumers. From the analysis of previous communication, we knew that the allusions to Alza and its mascot bring us the greatest attention among media and customers.

The employees of the company were still in the center of communication, however this time, they proudly stood behind their Number Two position on the online electronics market. They were Number Twos who tried twice as hard and only did what they truly understood.

Christmas 2017 campaign – revealed that, even though they are number #2, they try twice as hard as the other guys.
Summer campaign 2018 – explained the drive and motivation coming from CZC's chip on the shoulder.

Number Twos, Pop Culture, and Social Media

The groundbreaking video full of pop culture references almost didn’t get to see the light of day. The original version was a montage of famous movies, historical shots, and ads. When we searched for the license conditions and costs before the beginning of production, everything seemed to be OK. Nevertheless, as we got to work, many footnotes and complications arose, which would make the original campaign about twenty times more expensive on licenses alone.

Our lawyers started to scare us as they recommended to limit some segments with the blue coke and the alien to avoid the risk of a lawsuit. As a result, we spent the last three weeks before the launch in the editing room. We looked for ways to preserve the main idea while using only the video material from Czech Television (ČT) archives.

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We succeeded. The edited video was released into the world, and Number Twos immediately scored with the public. The definition against Number Ones hit the spot, and it triggered a wave of sympathetic comments, shares, and likes on social media. Thanks to an organic spread, despite the relatively low media budget, the campaign managed to reach 20 % of the Czech population. The clear and understandable proposition also helped to strengthen the brand, which put its customer service, which tried twice as hard, first.

Christmas Reconciliation

In the Christmas campaign of 2018, we wanted to advance the theme of Number Twos and the empathy towards customers even further. The time before Christmas is stressful not only for e-shops but also for customers, who are pressured by the greatest amount of annoying ads in a year. According to our surveys, we knew that almost half of the population feels ads had been gradually changing for the worse, especially in the context of a loud and obtrusive ad. A large part of the population connected this type of ad with the mascot of the competition.

This is the reason why the declaration of advertising reconciliation became the primary message of the CZC campaign. Everyone could then enjoy their Christmas in peace and quiet. We also offered gifts to everyone, including the customers of the competition, to motivate them to visit the e-shop. We wanted to build positive emotions towards the brand with the humble and almost non-advertising tonality of the message. Furthermore, the goal of the direct reference to the competition was to increase the memorability of the ads and their intensive organic spread.

We used YouTube as a reliable primary communication channel with sequential retargeting. We complimented the videos with OOH advertising, radio, and online banners leading the customers to a special landing page with a “rewarder” for the customers. Thanks to the controversy and the distinctiveness of the campaign, we also relied on its organic spread via social networks and media. The fans didn’t disappoint this time as well and helped us spread the campaign over the Internet. The videos received thousands of comments, which were usually positive and upbeat. This something that doesn’t usually happen on YouTube or Facebook.

Christmas campaign 2018 – a holiday peace offering
Making of Christmas campaign 2018

The Numbers Are Clear

The results exceeded all the previous CZC campaigns again. Site traffic, as well as completed orders, increased by 23 %. The specialized landing page itself was visited by 21 000 users daily on average. Site traffic rose 2.5x faster than last year during the same period with a similar media budget. CZC, as the only brand, also managed to increase the top-of-mind awareness from 11 % to 14 % with a 13x smaller budget compared to the leading competition and with only 1.9 % media coverage in the given category.

The concept of Number Twos, honest communication, and a healthy perspective paid off again. We confirmed our theory that if the controversy is in tune with the line of thinking of customers, it can significantly help the brand growth. Moreover, the concept is not the only number two the brand reached. The campaign placed second in both Effie and WebTop100. In 2019, we developed the concept even further. We invited the most famous Czech number two, Patrik Hezucký, to help us with the campaign “Number Twos can do better for less” and the following "Patrik Hezucký’s Hoaxes" campaign with the fake news motif.

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In Conclusion

Co-creation again proved to be the most effective form of the radical definition of a brand in the first phase. While it is best to seek the strengths of a brand primarily internally, it is more beneficial to design a creative concept itself directly in an agency, which has a perspective and creative freedom.

It is good to revise brand communication once every 2 to 3 years and continually develop the story. Controversy resonating with customers can substantially help to increase the growth of the creative communication of a brand, and it can reach a wide base of potential customers despite a lower budget.

Real results

  • 5+ Years
    of cooperation
  • 16+ Campaigns
    together
  • 14 % Top-of-mind
    znalost
  • Most Authentic brand
    in e-commerce

"Brain is always a step ahead, so we sleep well at night. They are precise, reliable and more than serious about our brand. It’s been a pleasure to push it forward with them."

Foto Milan Duda

Milan Duda,
Marketing Director, CZC.cz

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