Shortlisted 2021

Corporate Influencer



Entered by:

Havas International


&CoDenmark, Havas London, Havas Helia

Maersk - Setting a new course for growth

The Challenge

This is a story about change. How Maersk, a market leader in logistics, set out on a new course to completely reshape the category and defy the premises of an entire industry.  It all started with a vision from the CEO, Soren Skou: ‘Within the next 3-5 years, it should be as easy to ship a container across the world as it is today for consumers to send a parcel’

Have you ever tried to ship a container? Anyone familiar with the industry will tell you it is no easy task. Customers find it frustrating, navigating multiple suppliers at each fragmented step of the supply chain. Maersk set out to solve this, by diversifying and building out products & services under one brand. Turning their business from ocean shipping to complete end-to-end logistics. The reputation of the company would be difficult to overcome. They were known for ocean shipping and doing it at a massive scale – why would customers believe they could solve all their supply chain needs?

Higher stakes decision-making. The relationship currently held between Maersk and their customers is mostly in an ocean capacity. L&S solution selling would need a new way in, someone that has a more holistic view of the supply chain. Decisions on this scale are strategically significant and it takes a lot of trust to pool services with one supplier. When looking at the total value of logistics decision making (global business influencers survey), we found a strong correlation between the increasing value of the decision and it moving up the seniorities. C-level are 5x more likely to be involved in the decisions between $100k-$1m at 47% compared with 58% of managerial levels dealing with budgets reaching $250k. A new C-Level target was identified.

The Creative Solution

ALL THE WAY. Maersk were entering completely new categories where they had little or no credibility. Customers would have to completely rethink what they knew about Maersk and how to work with them. To solve this, marketing needed a complete overhaul. We needed to shift from micro targeting existing customers to building a strong brand image, one that could reassure the target of our ability to simplify global shipping. A refreshed brand platform was developed – ALL THE WAY. Acting as an embodiment of their new direction and a literal explanation of their end-to-end offering. This pledge would run through all their operations and communications from brand through to product / service level.

Behavior. It is a psychological fact that it is human nature to either fear or embrace transformation. Running the world’s most valuable brands, C-suites find this instinct multiplied. The creative partners on the Maersk business sought to harness this conflict. To truly deliver the new vision of the business, the marketing team would also need to embrace the change and show commitment to the cause. As the key external communication, the advertising would need to show the bravery of stepping out into unchartered waters for the industry.

Making believers. As Maersk were breaking away from the category, the traditional marketing rule book could be broken too. A drastic reverse of the marketing investment was instigated, flipping the investment in favour of brand initiatives for the first time in Maersk marketing history. We were creating a new B2B playbook for brand growth and trailblazing communications in a highly traditional category. We knew the beneficial halo-effect we could have in maximizing exposure to the category, and the marketing team were sticking to their ‘all the way’ manifesto.

Time poor and with many brands vying for their attention, the C-suite would need an attention-grabbing approach to successfully deliver the message. We would do this with a combination of standout placements and concentrated frequency across multiple touchpoints. Context would be another tool, utilising the medium as the message and ensuring we showed dominance in the industry. All the while we would need to keep our key Logistics decision makers close, winning over those who could be sceptical of our new position.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

We aimed to make believers in Maersk’s All The Way proposition across three waves:

  1. An announcement – ‘The Brain’. Taking shape as an epic 3-minute video, our announcement of the new era for Maersk dramatized the internal battle of our minds between the safe status quo and embracing change. This provocative approach would provide distinctiveness for Maersk to show they had a new offering and new style of communication to match. No shipping company had dared to go this bold.

Placement of the creative needed the same stature – this message could not hide in the shadows. We thrust out voice out into broad environments, full of the influential audience we were trying to reach. We created a media-first 3min ad-break takeover on CNBC and reinforced this with full pages in the global broadsheets of the FT & INYT. Digital activity complimented this, running at a high frequency to make the message impossible to ignore. This connected with the seniorities of interest through LinkedIn and Programmatic. The business change narrative given credibility through a 360-content partnership with Bloomberg.

  1. A guarantee – Spot Booking. Maersk also developed a premium product for their main operation of ocean shipping-reinforcing the customer focus in an immediate sense. A campaign was developed to launch this with a comedic view on the problems of the industry asking; ‘IMAGINE IF A RESTAURANT WAS LIKE SHIPPING’. This added emotion to a typically rational category.

Robust media planning was used to tactically place the message in-front of priority segments and industries. Highly efficient media buying across digital environments such as LinkedIn, programmatic video & display ensured that we were reaching those in-market for the new product.

  1. A new way of working – ‘Disconnected’. The second phase of the brand transformation needed to connect with logistics leads to elaborate on the new company direction. An epic, faux film trailer was created encourage customers to – CONNECT YOUR WORLD IN NEW WAYS. The ad was packed full of emotion to peak interest and produce a greater response. This high-quality production had the ambition for the big screen blockbuster but would need to be placed on the small to maximize exposure to category buyers. We therefore employed the tactics of small screen cultural events. The launch was weighted to immersive environments of video-on-demand platform HULU and Instagram. Additional reach & frequency was achieved through out-stream video and a broadened social channel mix.

The Result

The results of the reformed approach in marketing has been seen as a huge success:

L&S revenue jump. In the years since the change of marketing strategy (’19-’20) we have seen an increase in L&S revenues at 24.2%. Although revenue cannot be directly attributed to the campaign activity (no direct response provided), the increased advertising and brand weight provides a positive indication of marketing effects.

Perception Shift. Assessing the brand tracking reports we can see a marked increase against our key measure ‘(Maersk) can connect different components of my supply chain through its end-to-end (L&S) logistic solutions’. Beginning with the Announcement campaign (The Brain), this shifted perception +2.6% by Q1 ‘20. Challenging market conditions in Q2 ’20 resulted in a dip against this measure, in line with other customer tracking from Maersk. This rebounded in the following two quarters with the introduction of the new Ways of Working (Disconnected) brand campaign. YoY results being +1.3% for ’19-’20.

Emotion + Product = Profit. Although the spot campaign was not designed to push the L&S agenda, it still demonstrated Maersk’s ‘customer first’ credentials. The combination of a premium product and premium advertising drove significant revenues for the company. Media activity can be directly attributed to revenues at 158x media spend for 2020 (Jan-Apr). All of which was achieved through driving up to 654x the expected container contribution from the campaign.

Media Measures. Brand tracking against the C-Suite (CNBC) showed that 84% of viewers globally ‘had changed their overall opinion’ of the Maersk brand because of seeing the campaign. LinkedIn also recorded a 5% increase in consideration from ’19-’20 with a +2% increase between control and exposed groups for our key measure (‘can connect different components…’). This was achieved through high reach an engagement across key channels, with up to 17% engagement on Instagram.