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Breaking through the norm – a marketing transformation by Verso & Recto

Breaking through the norm – a marketing transformation by Verso & Recto

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This post is sponsored by Verso & Recto.

When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in early 2020, no one could have imagined the myriad socio-economic challenges that coping with the “new normal” would precipitate.

The rapid rise in new infections created an unparalleled public health crisis. Subsequent containment measures to stem contagion and save lives saw large-scale business closures and loss of jobs; a devastatingly disruptive consequence for which governments worldwide were woefully ill-prepared for.  

It was a predicament of unprecedented proportions that pushed countless national economies to the brink of recession. It was also a time of extraordinary opportunity that sparked a surge of smart new enterprises eager to thwart the COVID onslaught with the delivery of indispensable products and services. 

Unsurprisingly, 2020 saw face mask manufacturers springing up like proverbial mushrooms after the insatiable global scramble for protection via masks was mandated by law in most countries.

However, the market for this highly coveted commodity was dominated by cheap medically uncertified imports made of potentially harmful materials that exposed wearers to the risk of breathing in carcinogens, allergens and tiny synthetic microfibres when worn for extended periods of time.  

Additionally, they were also ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear with a tendency to cause dry skin and chafing behind the ears. Utilitarian virtues aside, they were also pretty ugly, clashing awkwardly with even the most ordinary outfits.

Meanwhile, infections and hospital admissions continued to rise. 

Therefore, because the principal purpose of any business, big or small, is to create customers, Callie, a visionary new face mask brand intent upon challenging the unsatisfactory status quo, was duly born.

Committed to innovation and product design, Callie remodelled the basic business set-up transforming the conventional production line into a lab specifically designed to deliver a groundbreaking range of masks that exceeded international quality standards characterised by a distinctively novel look that was infinitely more fashionable too.

Business began with the introduction of self-sterilising MDA-compliant masks with quantum resonance technology capable of eliminating airborne pathogens, COVID-19 included, with a 99.9% efficiency.

Naturally, the primary and most pressing challenge was marketing this innovation in safety and style to the public at large; a critical undertaking entrusted to the talent of Verso & Recto, a seasoned local business-cum-brand consultant.

“At that time, the world was in lockdown and advertising was restricted to social media platforms such as Google, Facebook and Instagram. The task before us was further magnified by the fact that Callie was a new and unknown challenger brand,” said Carter Chia, chief executive of Verso & Recto.

“So yes, we needed a breakthrough story compelling enough to decimate the existing clutter of clouded perceptions and make consumers both see and understand the inherent holistic value of Callie masks in terms of safety, breathability, wearability, and aesthetic superiority from the get-go.

“People were desperate for a superior solution, and we were confident Callie could deliver.

“With that in mind, we created a campaign that positioned Callie as the ‘Next-Gen COVID Killer’ and proceeded to develop a 12-month omni-channel communication campaign founded upon this powerful, single-minded message with the promise of #beautifulprotection.  

“We recreated the Callie Lab as a pop-up store and took it on tour around the Klang Valley to showcase the cut-through technology, trademark processes, world-class materials and creative passion unique to Callie.

“It worked. Immersive and experiential, this approach not only enabled us to bring the essence of the Callie style, substance and science to a mainstream audience, but it also achieved double the target revenue during the campaign period. 

“Reaffirming the measure of our endeavour, and the insights that helped us strategise the tack taken, Callie was awarded a bronze for Excellence in Marketing Transformation, and achieved further recognition as a finalist for Excellence in Influencer/KOLs Marketing (Advertising + Marketing’s 2022 Marketing Excellence Awards in Malaysia.”)

The success of Callie demonstrates the power of marketing transformation at work; an approach that is more or less imperative for all modern-day businesses serious about thriving in an uncertain disruptive world which demands they fundamentally change how value is delivered to consumers. Essentially, it encompasses a paradigm shift in both strategy and execution, and sometimes may even necessitate complete reinvention.

Peter Drucker once famously stated: “... the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all encompass your company culture, a complete reinvention of your operating model, a restructuring of your marketing processes, refurbishing your marketing capabilities and the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” 

Armed with data and technology, companies can better understand and even anticipate what customers are looking for today with a view to significantly shaping their “criteria of purchase” and adapting their marketing strategy accordingly. 

Indeed, it may well be the only way at present to empower enterprises with the resilience required to face the future with confidence.

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