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How Brother sewed up the online/offline gap at Christmas

Brother Australia wanted to drive customers to its mid- and high-end products. To meet targets, they needed to close the gap between online and offline.

Brother Australia wanted to drive customers to its mid- and high-end products. To meet targets, they needed to close the gap between online and offline.

Brother Australia wanted to make more money at Christmas by driving customers to its mid- and high-end products, but had no way to show how online marketing affected its physical retail stores and dealers. To meet those sales targets, Brother needed a way to close the gap between online and offline.

We’d been working with Brother for some time, and had built up a deep understanding of their target audience in Australia: sewing and crafting enthusiasts who would frequently share their passion in online forums.

Brother had already built a diverse and widespread fan base in these communities, including creating a “Brother Inspires” microsite as a one-stop destination for content and discussion. The trick was turning this brand love into trackable sales across Australia.

Making it personal

One insight from previous campaigns stood out when considering Brother’s challenge: Hobbyists often developed relationships with their sewing machines, often naming them and continuing to use them for decades longer than their usual life span.

This gave us both an opportunity and a means to harness it: if we could tap into the emotional relationship users have with their machines, we could convince existing customers to buy a long-overdue replacement in time for Christmas.

The result was “Find Your Sewmate”, a quiz on Brother Inspires that matched participants to the Brother machine based on their personalities. Each match would also come with personalised special offers, to be redeemed instore at Brother or one of their dealers.

In case that wasn’t enough, we paired the quiz with a competition inviting hobbyists to describe the first memory they’d create with their new Sewmate for a chance to win Brother’s flagship ScanNCut machine and other prizes, but only if they used the special offers to purchase their Sewmate.

The campaign ran seamlessly (harhar). Supported by promotions, embedded sharing buttons, and two hashtags, word spread rapidly among the Australian crafting community, with only a small amount of advertising. The critical factor was creating vouchers online to be used in-store, as this allowed sales managers to directly correlate the campaign to the sales of thousands of machines. The buzz around the campaign saw Brother Inspires’ traffic jump dramatically, and our campaign had some of the highest click-through rates of any campaign we’ve ever run.

One factor that helped Brother was the close relationship it had built up with its target customers: while the campaign only ran for six weeks before Christmas, Brother had been steadily investing in online awareness and continuous engagement for the past few years. The other was creating a voucher to bridge the gap between online engagement and offline sales.

The campaign proved that while omnichannel retail may have its challenges, an effective campaign doesn’t have to require huge investment or complex technology.

As hobbyists who’ve kept their craft thriving in a digital-obsessed world told us, sometimes the simple ways still work best.

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