Wednesday 13 November 2019

Marketing People: Ruth Brett, Marketing Director, Woodie's

With 1,400 staff working in 35 stores around the country, the Grafton Group-owned Woodie's chain of DIY, garden and home-furnishing stores is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, as Ruth Brett explains to John McGee.

Ruth Brett, Marketing Director, Woodie's
Ruth Brett, Marketing Director, Woodie's

John McGee

Describe your role?

As marketing director, I also sit on the leadership team — which is made up of our CEO and four other directors. My role is multi-faceted, but overall I am responsible for the health of our Woodie’s brand. I developed the Woodie’s brand-repositioning strategy and values which have formed the framework for everything we do at Woodie’s. I continue to manage that journey, which includes customer insight, advertising, sponsorship, PR, promotional planning and our CSR strategy.


What challenges do you face?

Irish people love to make the most of their homes and to put their own personal stamp on them. However, as a nation we have relatively low levels of confidence in DIY and in design.

Our customers are looking for ideas for their home and expert advice on how to achieve it. We now have trained experts in every store and a qualified horticulturist in every garden centre. We also provide help and inspiration in stores, online and on social media. We’ve also revitalised our ranges to include a more trends-focused homeware offering and a premium range of kitchens with a design service.


How do you tackle these challenges?

The marketing challenge is to tell our unique story. To position Woodie’s as an Irish brand with heart.

Evolving a brand’s image can take a long time and serious investment. Our journey began a few years ago and we started with our colleagues. We needed our brand values to radiate from within the business before our colleagues could authentically bring them to life for our customers in stores.

Since then we’ve used a programme of colleague engagement, advertising, social media, in-store experience, sponsorship and CSR to bring personality and colour to the Woodie’s brand in a meaningful and differentiated way. We’re an Irish brand with a hell of a lot of experience and we understand what the home means to the people of Ireland.


What marketing channels work well for the company?

We’ve used digital media to engage consumers with DIY by providing ideas and help for a whole range of home projects. Our award-winning ‘Woodie’s Heroes’ CSR strategy will see us raise €1m for children’s charities by the end of this year and has been a powerful platform for colleague and customer engagement.

As Woodie’s celebrates 30 years this year, to mark that we’ve launched a new brand ad campaign called ‘We’re all homemakers’. The ad is a celebration of home and homemakers all over Ireland. I’m proud of this ad as I think it perfectly captures the colour, warmth and personality of Woodie’s.

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