World of Initials Cityscape

Hello. We are a strategic integrated marketing communications agency, ruthless about changing consumer behaviour to drive consumers or shoppers to a sale on or offline. If this strikes a chord and you are excited about what you find here, we'd love to hear from you.


Road to Rio


    It all kicks off here

    Welcome to our new seasonal feature, providing a snapshot of 2014 World Cup-themed campaigns in the UK.
    Our football scouts are keeping an eye out for both sponsors’ promotions and also attempts by non-sponsors to cash in on the football fever without impinging copyrights. So why not check this out regularly, to keep on top of what is sure to be one of the most-used marketing themes this summer.

    Our pundits’ views

Live Now


    Peugeot Driving Sensations Roadshow

    Peugeot is supporting the launch of its 308 Hatchback, named European Car of the Year 2014, with the ‘Driving Sensations’ national roadshow. Touring major shopping centres the campaign aims to challenge people’s perceptions of the Peugeot brand, positioning the 308 as a serious contender to the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Audi A3. Taking itsread more

Our Thoughts

  • ‘Digital’ reaches the final frontier – Roger Hyslop

    It really doesn’t seem that long ago when marketers were starting to talk about digital communications as an adjunct to mainstream marketing. It was certainly less than 10 years ago that brands needed to have a website that interested consumers could visit to get more information, usage ideas and, in the case of consumables, more

  • Language…….. it’s a living thing – Roger Hyslop

    It never fails to amaze me how transient our language is. Every new generation delights in reinventing it, changing ways of saying things, radically altering the meaning of words and even creating entirely new words. It’s long been accepted that the fact that Americans speak our language is purely coincidental. Perhaps it’s because for manyread more

  • National Grammar Day – Marcomms Man

    It has come to my attention that last Tuesday was National Grammar Day….and not a lot of people know that! But if, like me, you hate sloppy punctuation, grammar and writing, take a moment to open the link below. It will make you smile, and will remind you that when published, poor English reflects badlyread more

  • The lessons to learn from Debs’ festive failure – Robert Hocking

    Tiffany Holland’s Big Story on Debenhams (Retail Week, 10 January) highlighted the wider woes of retailers at large. The sector has seen seismic change over the past decade, yet some retailers are still catching up on the results of that flux – with Debenhams being a prime example. As Holland points out in your piece,read more

  • Brands want to be liked, but will they then be purchased? – Marcomms Man

    Two items in the marketing news media caught my eye recently. The first is an old chestnut of mine, and put in a nutshell it’s the issue of where the role of marketing sits in relation to sales. There seems to be far less correlation between the two than there used to be and Iread more

Exciting Things Happen in the world of initials

Integrating on and offline in DIY

Posted on July 13, 2014 by

Initials MD Richard Barrett analyses his own personal experience of shopping in Homebase, and finds that the in-store experience, when it goes beyond the merely transactional, can be a fulfilling experience. His piece, published recently in the Guardian media section, is reproduced here.

DIY is sprucing up the in-store experience

Go in for some screws and come out with a fully-fitted kitchen – the in-store offering of DIY is unique and must be preserved.

A woman in a DIY goods store
I confess that my instinctive reaction to the recent inclusion of coffee shops and mini Argos units in Homebase stores was somewhat muted. As a DIY purist I saw these as unwelcome distractions in one of my most beloved destinations.

But I now feel differently. From a retail perspective there is no getting away from the fact that “experience” is everything and people are looking for a relationship – or at least an interaction – when in store. This is true for fashion, electrical and almost every other type of retail, so why not DIY?

Homebase and B&Q are heavily focused on opening up DIY opportunities to those who are less confident, breaking down traditional shopper barriers. Doing that live in-store and in an approachable manner is spot-on for a certain audience. Diversification of products in store also feeds the imagination. So long as it doesn’t feel like being in a shopping mall, then it should be a big hit.

The traditional retail experience is arguably nowhere more important than in DIY, where you go in to buy 100 screws and walk out with 400 of different size and variety, some piping, new radiator valves, masking tape (just in case you’ve nearly run out) and an outdoor security light to boot.

You’ve enjoyed the experience and been inspired by the cross-category browsing. It’s an experience that doesn’t fully translate online, which is why many brands in the space still see in-store as the most important place to have a presence. For wood treatment brand Cuprinol, for example, getting secondary display in the garden section next to the sheds is vital.

The incorporation of slick in-store technology, such as digital screens offering project advice and 3D product imaging at Homebase, provide a rich, interactive customer experience that feels a far cry from the hardware stores of yore: Aladdin’s cave-style retail outlets piled high with DIY knick-knacks.

Shoppers will always want to touch, see and interact with products in the DIY category, whether to find the right sized nail, the right width of a paintbrush or the exact shade of duck egg blue paint. Having recently had an architect at my house, I can say that real-life interaction with a real person trained in a specific skill opened my eyes to a world of possibilities I hadn’t considered, despite a fair amount of time spent searching for inspiration online.

As tech advances to enhance the DIY retail offer both online and off, the category needs to invest in both innovation and excellent shopfloor service to create experiences beyond the transaction.

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Shoppers want exclusivity from new store formats

Posted on July 10, 2014 by

Initials CEO Jamie Matthews has contributed a thought-provoking piece to the MAA-sponsored feature on marketing communications in the Guardian.

Jamie highlights the growing trend for greater consonance between the retail and online environments, together with consumers’ increasing desire for individuality and personalisation in the products they buy.

If you didn’t catch it this week, you can read the article in full here.

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