kat chinnock which

CMO Spotlight

Kat Chinnock on her career and the Which? rebrand

Which? marketer Kat Chinnock touches on her career choices and her ambitions for the brand

By Conor Nichols

Last month, testing, reviews and advice service Which? unveiled a new visual identity and campaign.

The brand - known for promoting informed consumer choice through independent advice - refreshed its identity in a bid to expand its user base and alter perceptions of Which? The brand wishes to be known for more than just reviews and instead solidify itself as a ‘dynamic brand with a much bigger role to play in providing answers to everyday questions.’

The new logo and colour palette were included in a nationwide campaign, with a series of OOH QR code activations also providing passers-by with answers to commonly asked questions like ‘Want to appeal a parking ticket?’

Kat Chinnock, the head of brand and communication planning at Which? feels that while the 65-year-old brand is well known, Brits are not aware that it offers “so much more than magazines and product reviews.”

Chinnock has a plethora of experience in marketing, specifically in the financial sector having spent over nine years working for Lloyds Banking Group in various managerial positions. During her time at the group, she also led the rebrand of Lloyds Bank into Japanese, tackling the challenge of addressing an audience with a completely different belief system.

We sat down with Chinnock to not only find out more about Which?'s rebrand but also about the marketer’s career and her ambitions for the company moving forward.

Creative Salon: How and why did you get into marketing and what do you enjoy most about it?

Kat Chinnock: It was fate. After my art degree, I was working in a call centre to make some money and my MD noticed something in me, offering me a role in the marketing department where I ran all the creative production and media administration - and it went from there. I’m very grateful that she saw my potential and gave me an opportunity.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is understanding what makes people tick and then connecting with them as simply as possible - through my work, and with my team and colleagues. The most pure example of this was when I led the rebrand of Lloyds Bank into Japanese. Understanding an audience with a completely different belief system was challenging but it really highlighted to me the discipline in what I do. Also, I love that marketing combines my creative background with my ability to organise, which means I’m quite good at it!

CS: Which? is not for profit and all about improving consumers’ lives. Was that a deliberate career choice for you following your various roles in the finance sector?

Chinnock: Absolutely. Working in financial services taught me a huge amount of discipline, gave me incredible opportunities and I was lucky to work with (and learn from) some of the best agency minds in the industry. But I wanted to use my skills for the greater good and, being a council estate kid, I could see the inequalities in society and wanted to play my part in protecting people from harm - making life simpler, fairer and safer for those who don’t necessarily have the power or influence to do so. Which? is the perfect place for this.

CS: Tell us about the aims for your brand refresh campaign? What are your ambitions for the brand?

Chinnock: The aim is quite simply to remind everyone about Which? and what we do, as we’ve never been more relevant or important. Everyone has heard of Which? - we’ve been around for over 65 years - but they’re just not aware that we offer so much more than magazines and product reviews.

With everything going on in the world right now, with all of the misinformation and uncertainty, it’s really hard to trust what you read online and make the right choice. We have a team of experts regularly producing a wealth of impartial advice to help people get answers to their everyday questions…and it’s available for free.

As well as telling people, the aim was also to make the brand feel more relevant so we’ve updated the look and feel with a fresh, ownable and consistent design. But, it’s so much more than just a logo change - we also needed to help galvanise and shape the way the organisation thinks and behaves, whilst using the opportunity to energise colleagues.

The ambition is that more and more people use our free advice to help them in their day to day lives - from finding out how to appeal their parking tickets, to saving on their weekly shop, to helping them move house.

CS: The new campaign attempts to refresh the brand as the champion for the British consumer. In this age of misinformation, how challenging was it to work on this brief with your agency partners?

Chinnock: We’ve got the best bunch of agencies so, as a whole, it’s been a dream to work on this brief. But, in terms of challenges, they are probably two fold.

Firstly, there is no one else like us out there and it takes a bit of time to wrap your head around everything we do - from the free actionable advice, to the more in-depth product reviews for subscribers, to the complex work we’re doing behind the scenes in the advocacy space. So we had to work through the complexity of our offering and align behind a proposition and strategy that was simple, clear and motivating. There were a lot of rounds of research, stakeholder engagement and iterations but the brilliant team at ODA helped us land on the perfect strategy that has given us strong foundations on which to build.

Secondly, as a not-for-profit, we have to make our budget work harder than most, so we really pushed the agencies on this. Brave Spark landed on a brilliant brand platform ‘get answers’ but the real challenge was how we amplified the activity to get maximum reach for our money - there were a few rounds of ideas but we definitely got there in the end. Working with our media agencies, Brainlabs and Goodstuff, they delivered an approach that very simply showcased our content, using contextual media placements and influencers to gain maximum impact, as well as using QR codes to easily access the advice when and where you needed it.

CS: What advice would you have for marketers to get the best out of their agency partners?

Chinnock: Be ambitious. Agencies want to deliver brilliant work as much as you do. So give them a brief to get excited about and you’ll get the best out of them. Even the most functional briefs can be made interesting if you try.

Be a team. The best work is always when the client and all the agencies are working as one, so always strive for this. If there is an issue, work through things together rather than batting back and forth. It makes everything so much more efficient and enjoyable.

Recognise great work. Everyone loves a bit of recognition and agencies often get more critique than praise. Do I have high standards? Absolutely. But when the agencies hit the mark they feel the love and that’s really motivating for all.

CS: Now that you’ve created this new brand refresh, what’s next for Which?

Chinnock: We’ll be much more visible in the future as we continue reminding people about what we do, and bringing to life the different aspects of our offering when relevant. For example, there is a big need around the winter period on everything from home energy support to enjoying christmas on a budget. We’ll also continue embedding our refreshed brand strategy across every part of the consumer experience so we live and breathe the new brand through everything we do.

Alongside this, I really want to raise visibility of all the brilliant work that we’re doing in the advocacy space where our teams are working hard to make things better for consumers by championing better and fairer business, and fairer and actionable policy. It’s a great way of showing how we’re helping consumers ‘get answers’ - using our expertise to tackle those systemic issues that are impacting us all and influence the change, such as our calls on supermarkets to make budget ranges more widely available. Watch this space!

CS: What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting a job in marketing?

Chinnock: Where to start… I think the one that comes to the top of my head is to develop and nurture your external network. I’ve never been one to go to lots of events and network the traditional way. My most valuable relationships have come from just creating some brilliant work with some amazing agency folks, then following up with them on a personal level. Whether it’s getting coaching or mentoring or just lunch. It’s led me to working with even more amazing people through their network, working out my career ambition, developing myself to get there, and securing some great career opportunities.


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