Launching the first-ever NordVPN 360° marketing campaign in Germany
October 13, 2022
Table of contents
In August, we started our first-ever 360° marketing campaign in Germany for one of our cybersecurity solutions – NordVPN. The campaign was designed to raise personal cybersecurity awareness among the German population and involved all channels in spreading the key message that nothing is more important than the privacy of your personal data.
In this interview, we speak to Joanna Rusin-Rohrig, Germany country manager, and Ieva Račienė, brand manager – the two NordVPN insiders who made this campaign happen. Read their interviews and find out the full behind-the-scenes story of this 360° NordVPN branding campaign in Germany: from idea creation, planning, and development to the final results and lessons learned.
From campaign idea to execution
Could you briefly introduce the campaign you just launched?
Ieva: Yes, we call it the “Safely be you” campaign. It was a huge milestone for our organization because it was the first 360° branding campaign ever done at NordVPN when all channels were aligned and focused on one message:
Switch on privacy. Switch off trackers and viruses. Go Nord. Safely be you.
(Privatsphäre ein, Trackern und Viren aus. NordVPN. Ganz sicher du selbst.)
With this key message, we wanted to stress the importance of privacy and make a connection with the usage of our product. Unlike the general approach that focuses on risks and dangers by showing hoodie-wearing hackers in dark rooms trying to steal personal data, we concentrated on more modern and positive messaging emphasizing the emotional benefit of safety. NordVPN protects you and your daily actions online: private messages, social interactions, and transactions. Nothing can be more important than that.
This "Safely be you" campaign aimed to show that everyone's digital life has the same or even more threats than their "real" lives.
Is it any different from the usual NordVPN campaigns? If yes, how?
Joanna: In fact, it was very different from the usual marketing activities, which are strictly driven by performance indicators. This was the first time NordVPN launched an awareness campaign and the first time we implemented one in Germany.
What did the development of the whole branding campaign look like? Could you give us a sense of the development and implementation stages?
Ieva: It took us eight months to get from idea approval to campaign launch. To tailor the campaign to the German market, we first started looking for external partners.
From day one, our media team, in cooperation with our long-term partner, The Specialist Works, started analyzing media opportunities and best practices in the country and working on an appropriate media plan to promote our creative approach. Meanwhile, our other partner – the team at Influence.vision – helped us find the best influencers. For designing our video ad, we chose a local creative agency, Jung Von Matt. Together, we developed a creative concept called "Safely be you."
To sum up, not everything was done by our external partners – a large part of the visual design and creative copywriting was done in-house.
Joanna: To give you a feeling of how big the project was: we developed nine separate media plans, from out-of-home advertising to mobile influencer activation. It was a huge team effort to create and execute them on time. More than 100 people worked together internally and in external teams on the execution of the whole campaign.
And speaking of branding campaign promotion tools, what kind of marketing channels were used to launch this campaign? How did you select them?
Ieva: As it was a 360° campaign, it covered all possible marketing channels: TVC, radio, OOH, PR coverage, dedicated celebrity campaign, influencer integrations, social media, PPC, various mobile app ads with full digital scope, and more. We also leveraged high-reach and visibility placements, and our SEO team covered various content clusters.
Joanna: Our main KPI for the campaign is the improvement of the upper funnel metrics – awareness and consideration levels in the market. Therefore, we chose channels and platforms that index highly on reach and reliability in our target group for us to achieve maximum penetration in the market with the given budget.
How are you measuring the success of each marketing channel that was used?
Joanna: Apart from the overall awareness level increase, we defined separate KPIs, like a specific CPA for TV or a level of positive sentiment for influencer integrations. These are our pillars of measurement that allow us to establish whether or not we can regard a certain action as a success or failure.
Cybersecurity awareness in Germany
Your main goal is to raise awareness about personal cybersecurity among the German population. How aware are they of the threats they face online, and are they ready to embrace new technology for their cyber protection?
Joanna: According to our research data, Germans spend almost 25 years of their lives online. However, only 21% of them can say they are well aware of the different ways to secure their devices. Even though secure Wi-Fi is relevant to 69% of Germans, only 23% use a VPN to keep their connection safe at all times. This means that although people would like to browse the internet securely and privately, the burden of achieving this goal seems too big. With the campaign, we want to inform our relevant audiences how easy it is to be safe online.
With the company in full swing now, how would you rate the first results in trying to achieve your main goal and increase NordVPN product usage in Germany?
Joanna: We definitely see a big interest in the topic, and search queries both for the VPN category and NordVPN are increasing significantly. With it, we see increased traffic numbers for our German website and prolonged time spent on the pages. We are waiting for comprehensive post-campaign research results to analyze more in-depth what influence the campaign had on all customer journey stages.
For you as a country manager, what was the most challenging part of running this campaign, and why?
Joanna: My role in this big project was to consult all teams to help them to achieve the best-localized approach. Another important part was to create a link between our headquarters and agencies operating for us in Germany.
Most people working on this campaign do not speak German, so my local team supported them on all language, copy, and influencer content-related tasks. With literally thousands of various marketing campaign design pieces and copy, keeping tabs on everything was challenging, but we managed to spot all mistakes on time.
Tips for a successful branding campaign
What is the most important thing to consider when launching such branding campaigns? Do you have any advice?
Form a team you can trust. This is the most crucial part of all projects. Whether it is your colleagues or external partners, I strongly suggest gathering a team you can trust 100%. And if the team consists of professional and dedicated people ready to go the extra mile, they're destined to succeed.
Know your users or the people you are talking to. Understanding their needs and how we can help to solve their problems is the key success factor to being relevant.
Have the courage to do things that were never done before. In our case, having the first branding campaign focused on an emotional message might have been seen as a challenge at first, but we took the risk because the challenge might pay off massively.
Have your KPIs and measurement methods established before you start planning, and make sure that all the team members are on the same page.
Think of having regular check-ins with all the team members involved so no information gets lost on the way.
When you are done with all the project planning, go ahead and add an extra month to it. :) Life happens, and this buffer will allow you to find solutions for challenges that arise on the go.