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November 22, 2022

Learning from the little things – Concierge Carwash at the Effies

We were incredibly proud to add two Effies to our collection at the recent Australian Effie awards. That pride stemmed from two facts – firstly, the collaboration and effort required to be recognised at the Effies is no easy feat. But secondly, was the fact that these awards weren’t for a big “all singing – all dancing” campaign, but rather smart thinking through a combination of data, strategy and creativity, and a most unlikely channel.  

It’s with this in mind that I’d like to share two important lessons from our paper that will be useful for any marketer or business executive who wants to grow their businesses.  

First a bit of background. Our client, Concierge Carwash (CCW), was facing an almost Armageddon-like business scenario during the 2020 lockdown. Sales had declined by nearly 90% and not surprisingly didn’t bounce back after the first Covid wave. Nobody wanted a stranger in their cars during Covid.  

Until that point, they’d been one of the fastest growing franchises in the country with plans to hit 100 stores within 12 months and expand into Asia. Then the proverbial suds hit the fan. They asked us to review their activity and suggest any potential areas to focus on in an effort to bounce back.  

In a category driven by limited brand distinctiveness, little customer loyalty, and often spontaneous, discretionary spending, we sought to stem the losses from COVID. And through a combination of data, strategy and creativity we managed to not only create brand distinctiveness but one of their biggest and most profitable years ever.  

All thanks to a functional, often-neglected – and much maligned – media channel: text messaging. 

Ultimately, we were able to deliver a 62% increase in revenue and proved that uplift via a controlled experiment. It was a phenomenal result given the circumstances. And it brings me back to those two essential lessons.  

1. Your lightest buyers may be the key to your biggest growth. 

The first step to understanding where to get growth from is often mapping the purchase frequency of your existing client base. Mapping purchase frequency has enabled us to substantially increase revenue for many of our B2B and B2C clients. Importantly, it’s also worked across categories as diverse as automotive, cosmetics, finance and well … car washes.  

For CCW we started by digging through the POS transaction records to understand how loyal their visitors were. The answer? Not very. In the sales data, we found very low frequency of visits and large volumes of ultra-light buyers. The vast majority of customers were only having a car wash once every year. We also noticed a large proportion of “lost” purchasers – people who hadn’t visited CCW for 2-5 years. The average purchase frequency overall was once every three years.  

Interestingly, the CCW customers were a more extreme version of those found in marketing scientist Charles Graham’s study of long-term purchasing behaviour of Dove in the UK (as summarised in this article). This sort of distribution is very common for many brands. 

This was one of the key building blocks to our eventual strategy.  
2.  Don’t underestimate the importance of small touches in the overall brand experience  
There’s been much written about the power of creativity, but usually it’s written about the Big Idea: often an integrated campaign delivered by a large budget. The truth is there’s very little in the way of published data on the creative power of the small: every other touchpoint that’s not even necessarily an ad.  
Now think about all the text messages that are sent by businesses worldwide, or better yet think about how your own organisation uses the channel. We’d wager most of them are fairly transactional, easily ignored, and dare we say, a poor brand experience.  
The results of this campaign help demonstrate that even in something small there’s still an opportunity to create delight, grow your business and brand value.  
Every touchpoint can be an opportunity to build upon memory structures in a way that can have enormous payback. Through some thoughtful personalisation, a little humour, and being contextually relevant, even simple text messages can deliver a business-transforming outcome.  
By differentiating the brand from the competition and demonstrating the handcrafted difference of Concierge Car Wash in the smallest touch, their texts, we re-engaged light buyers and drove record revenue returns. And trust me when I say there’s a lot more we could talk about, including “Magic Day” – the day of the week where our messaging delivered a 9.5% increase in revenue – and finding their business Kryptonite. But if you’d like to know more, you’ll need to get in touch with me at  


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