Amy Heap – Gü Puds

Amy Heap – Gü Puds

Amy Heap is the Marketing Director at Gü Puds, the leading premium dessert brand in the UK.  She is close to all functions in the business and with her team, has overall responsibilities for brand, kitchen and innovation. Right now, Amy is driving forward the new strategic plan, with a focus on redefining the brand vision and answering the questions, ‘What do we want the brand to stand for and how will this play out creatively in our marketing communications?’ 

Main KPI’s for growth

Gü Puds operates in an occasion driven sector. Therefore, according to Amy, the main ingredients for brand growth are penetration and frequency. Amy explains: “For us it’s important to know ‘are more households buying my brand?’ and ‘are people buying my brand more often?’  In other words, the drum beats to ‘more people, more occasions, more often’, which will be delivered through broadening our product offering and refining our brand perception amongst consumers.”

From a purely commercial perspective, the average selling price is another important KPI. The brand is often on promotion and one of Amy’s challenges in the new strategic plan is to reduce the reliance on that. There is no doubt that the business needs scale to succeed but there is a renewed focus on the role that brand equity can play in reducing any price sensitivity as well as building up occasion-based relevance.

The role of creative

For Amy, creative is the way to bring the new brand vision to life: “Part of answering the ‘What do we want to stand for?’ question is ‘how will this play out in our creative?’” The creative is the consumer face of the vision. Amy explains: “This is vital for Gü Puds as it is a one-brand business – the brand vision is not only central to marketing activities but is something that all parts of the business will be inspired by day to day.”

How does that play out for Gü Puds? Amy: “In order to be more relevant to more people more often, we wanted to base our marketing activities around a new, big creative idea. This meant putting together a new ‘Brand Manifesto’ to inspire consumers, customers and colleagues.” To do that, Amy embarked on a new creative journey, collaborating closely with the creative agency from the very start. Importantly, she wanted an agency that had not worked on the brand before. Amy explains: “As this is a new direction for the brand, I wanted to work with an agency who could come on the strategic and creative journey with us, and who could approach the new creative platform with fresh eyes. This means all creative executions can be judged against their ability to deliver against the overarching brand vision.” 

The creative process

In the past, Gü ads were mainly product shots on a black background. Amy tells us: “This is strong creative and does evoke strong memories with consumers as this is how they remember the brand when it launched. However, the very high-end photography and black background makes people believe the product is only for special occasions, making it harder to deliver against our aim of becoming more relevant, to more people, more often.” According to Amy, new consumer insights were needed to feed into the building of the new creative idea and inspire executions. She therefore led her team to explore how Gü Puds was showing up on social media – one of the best ways of seeing how consumers actually talk about brands and products. At the same time, it was a chance to explore the ‘indulgent treat’ need state and get the team closer to the key occasions.

Amy: “We found social media posts from consumers, saying ‘It’s Friday night, I have my glass of wine and my Gü’. These insights were exactly what we were looking for. The end result was the new creative idea of ‘Time for Gü’ – an idea rooted in talking to consumers about occasions for consumption. This was shared back with consumers to explore it further and to finetune the relevance of it.  It has already manifested itself in a successful OOH and social campaign earlier this year, focusing on digital consumer engagement and indulgence ‘in the moments that matter’.”

Keeping track

As the executions of the central idea are scaled, Amy explains: “Testing will become more and more important. I want to make sure the new proposition is starting to resonate and is showing signs of being a purchase driver at the same time.” Research can also be the means to check-in on consumer attitudes and behaviours. Amy: “Creative evaluations are important to feed into the development process too.”  Indeed, research has led her to a new perspective on consumers: they are united by how they feel in the occasion.

Amy is keen to point out: “Throughout the development of the new creative idea, the core brand values remained central. Developing restaurant quality products through exciting innovation and the use of finest ingredients, will continue to deliver the Gü Puds promise. Any creative execution must portray the quality of our products and convince consumers they are worth paying more for, on more occasions.”

 Biggest challenges

Amy continues: “To become more relevant on more occasions we need to evolve from a high quality treat for special occasions to ‘everyday special’, at the same time maintaining the high quality. Whilst the brand is loved and excites consumers as a special treat, it has not always been top of mind and that can mean not being relevant enough in the everyday, a little out of reach for some.  One of the other challenges we face is that when our consumers are looking for product to satisfy that indulgent treat moment, there are many other categories they could choose from such as ice-cream & confectionary.  We need to continue to innovate and develop our range to allow our desserts to be considered alongside these other categories, whilst ensuring our marketing communications highlight the benefits of the product.”