Our new Acora ad campaign – the biggest and most ambitious we’ve ever run – went live in the autumn of 2021. As it reaches its midpoint, our Sales & Marketing Director MATT WOOD explains how it came about, its central message and what it seeks to deliver.

Back in 2021, we set ourselves a pretty challenging six-year growth target. Never let it be said that we lack ambition. What we did lack, though, was a marketing campaign with the heft and power to help us achieve it.

Historically, our efforts had rarely strayed much beyond the safe, familiar sales activation techniques – email, cold-calling, content on our own website, and so on. But we recognised that while these are fine for driving immediate sales activity, they tend to produce correspondingly short-term sales opportunity growth. With this new objective, we were seeking long-term growth and profitability. That meant placing the focus firmly onto our brand.

That’s not easy to do in our space delivering to mid-market businesses, as evidenced by the fact there are no large, dominant players that everyone knows. But looked at positively, it meant there was space for someone to become that go-to brand. Naturally, we wanted it to be Acora.

As a wise man (David Lloyd George, to be exact) once said: you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. So we told the bold step and, in September 2021, we embarked the biggest, most ambitious marketing venture in Acora’s 20-year history.

The new Acora ad campaign is running for six months, with rich content across more media channels than we’ve ever used before. Working with an external agency, we’ve video, digital out-of-home advertising (such as electronic billboards in office complexes) targeted online advertising through Sky ADSMART, website takeovers and social media (mainly LinkedIn and Facebook).

And its central message is both straightforward and transformational.

In our hero video, we establish the primacy of a new performance metric. For us, the standard service level agreement (SLA) is no longer fit for purpose as the sole measure for IT success. Everything we do, our entire service offering, is aligned to a positive, demonstrable impact on the end-user experience, measured through the experience level agreement (XLA).

That shift in emphasis is really important. As my colleague Lee Ganly, our CIO, explained in this blog post the pandemic and move to hybrid working have highlighted the link between people’s IT experience and their productivity and general wellbeing. And from a practical business perspective, when IT works smoothly and easily and effectively, it gives people their time back.

In a professional services context, this simple fact has a real bottom-line impact. Take a large legal firm, for example. A senior partner might currently be losing anything up to an hour a day on basic, routine IT issues. By focusing on delivering a positive, seamless and efficient experience, we can recover that hour, and they can use it for productive, high-value work that directly benefits clients and, in turn, the firm’s commercial performance.

At the time of writing, the new Acora ad campaign still has a couple of months to run, so it’s too early to say definitively what effect it’s had. We’re planning to run a formal market research study once the campaign ends: we’ll bring you the findings in a future blog post. The true measure of success will be our brand presence in our sales pipeline, and the extent to which we’ve captured that all-important ‘front of mind’ position among IT decision-makers.

I don’t underestimate the scale of what we’ve taken on, or the job the new Acora ad campaign has to do. Acora is a service provider operating in a crowded, competitive and price-sensitive market, in which the players are offering similar – even identical – products and services. As anyone working in a market like ours will recognise, the main challenge is differentiation; and that’s what our new ad campaign is ultimately about. It brings to life our customer promise to measure our success through the perception of the people who consume our service.

We see ourselves as being on a mission that transcends Acora. We’re not just reinventing our own service offering: we’re challenging the status quo for our entire industry. We’re giving potential clients something genuinely different that meets their needs and has real, tangible benefits for their users, their customers and their business.

Of course, those needs are always evolving; which means our services and support are always evolving, too. So don’t be surprised to see another new Acora ad campaign sometime in the future. And who knows just how big that might be!


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