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Best of NAMA 2024

Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, Inc. created quite a stir at the 2005 Best of CAMA awards, bringing home both the Best of Show-Campaign and Best of Show-Advertising awards. Syngenta shared the honour with Adculture Group Inc., its agency of record and strategic marketing partner. The award-winning Helix brand campaign successfully positioned the technical superiority of Helix and Helix XTra with its customers, driving home the products' value proposition, and maintaining its No. 1 position in the category.

"I'm a strong believer in brand health," says Rick Istead, crop manager, seed treatments, with Syngenta. "It's absolutely critical that you deliver simple, believable and consistent messages throughout your campaign in order to build credibility with your target audiences." He adds that the challenges faced going into the 2005 growing season were significant. "For a brand that is essentially sold on another brand, i.e. a seed treatment on seed, coupled with the launch of a new seed treatment competitor, it was more important than ever to maintain and build on our brand awareness as well as reinforce the value proposition of our market leading seed treatments."

Because it is primarily the seed companies that make the seed treatment decision, reinforcing the brands' message to growers has always presented some unique challenges. To answer those challenges, Istead looked to his veteran marketing team, Greg Northey, vice president client services and Clare Stanfield, director of public relations, at Adculture as his chief strategists.

Commenting on the marketing efforts Istead says, "Our key strategy was to implement a fully integrated communications campaign together with joint promotional activities with our seed company customers which helped build on product awareness, increase brand familiarity, reinforce the value message, and in doing so, retain our customer base and drive sales momentum. It was an effective campaign. Grower satisfaction and demand for the Helix brands has always remained strong. And the major seed companies continue to remain loyal and support the Helix and Helix XTra brands, even in the face of new competition."

Executing the fully integrated campaign, the Adculture team targeted canola growers across the Prairies. The campaign included the traditional print, radio and television media and direct communications, as well as educational/informational fact sheets, bulletins, best management practices guides, industry relations and promotional collateral material.

"Our strategy was two-pronged," says Northey. "The first objective was to differentiate a brand within a brand. With a new competitor coming on the market, we needed to generate more awareness of the added benefit of Helix XTra without diminishing the technical superiority of Helix. Second, we wanted to widen the brand message beyond flea beetles to include greater emphasis on disease control, improved stand establishment and yield potential."

The agency developed a campaign around the message of "Two trusted solutions, one result." The message reinforced the fact that the Helix brands have been trusted performers for over five years, and that growers have a choice, Helix or Helix XTra.

With grower satisfaction strong and an increase in Helix XTra use in the 2005 crop year, without a doubt, the communications campaign was an outstanding success. The campaign strongly defended the Helix brands' No. 1 market share position. And, based on industry data, Helix and Helix XTra continue to hold high satisfaction ratings and the strongest re-use intentions and willingness by growers to recommend it to others. But most importantly, Helix and Helix XTra continue to maintain the highest unaided brand awareness and familiarity in their category.

Istead sees the power of an integrated communications campaign as the critical success factor for Helix and Helix XTra's strong brand health. "The demand for Helix and Helix XTra in the marketplace is the result of implementing a fully integrated, well thought out and carefully crafted campaign." He adds, "It's not just the work, but also a carefully synchronized team effort between client and agency, utilizing complementary tactics and consistent messaging from year to year, which continues to drive the momentum of Helix and Helix XTra brand success."

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