The next stage of Golden Charter’s evolution

words: Roisin McGroarty
Karen Trickett

Building on the hugely successful Golden Charter brand and making the company a household name are both key for the new Director of Marketing, Karen Trickett.

The former CEO of Tangible, a premier brand agency, has now been in the business for six months and has settled in well to her new role.

The Glasgow-based headquarters makes a nice change for Karen, who grew up in the city but has spent her working life travelling around the UK.

“I was looking for a new challenge and could see this company, on my doorstep, growing so there was an immediate interest about Golden Charter,” said Karen. “I could see that this company was multi-award-winning and my interest peaked when I looked at the market. It’s such an interesting and diverse marketplace.

“Golden Charter is in a great space as market leader, in terms of volume, but actually a lot of the public have not heard of us which, for a marketer, is a lovely challenge.

“The company has been innovative in its approaches to increasing volumes and I could see that there was a huge amount of scope to grow Golden Charter’s brand visibility and improve its marketing.”

Golden Charter has certainly been recognised in the market as a company to contend with, securing a place on the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table for a second consecutive year in 2015.

The challenge of transforming a highly successful company into a household name may seem like a daunting task but Karen has an enviable marketing background to fall back on. Her wide portfolio contains high-profile campaigns such as the Pepsi Chart, the Spice Girls’ Pepsi launch and launching the children’s gaming phenomenon Pokémon around Europe, which she describes as an “interesting challenge across very different markets”.

After the commercial success of those campaigns, Karen started working agency-side for clients in the financial and legal industry, such as Lloyds Banking Group and Scottish Widows. Now, with her attention firmly on Golden Charter, she is keen to grow the company and says there is great scope for the organisation to flourish.

She said: “There is an opportunity, both in the off line world and the digital space, to offer a more personalised experience to our customers.

“A lot of the marketing we currently do is ‘one-size-fits-all’ but the reality is that the customer landscape is changing and people come to Golden Charter from different entry points. We have customers who come from funeral directors, customers who come directly to us and customers who come in through our corporate partners and intermediaries. That level of change means we require a bit more thinking in terms of what our marketing model should be.

“This can be incredibly challenging as the digital landscape is moving very quickly and customer expectations are at an all-time high. We really have to keep a close eye on the market, which is rapidly evolving.”

Since joining the company in November last year, Karen has been travelling around the country to meet funeral directors face to face and listening in on sales calls to gain an accurate description and understanding of customers’ needs.

“We hold a lot of data but don’t actually put it to use as well as we could do,” she explained. “There is massive scope for data analysis. It could be used in a number of ways, such as identifying potential customers that are similar to our current client database. It would also allow us to spot gaps in our database that could lead us to new audiences.

“We provide both funeral plans and legal services, and the latter could have a completely different demographic to funeral plans, allowing us to cross-sell plans at a later date. There is great scope for the company to grow.”

Karen’s new role started as Golden Charter prepared to launch its TV advertising campaign. The advert promoted the advantages of Golden Charter, as a company that was set up, and is still run, by independent funeral directors. Following the success of the TV adverts, Golden Charter is now looking to offer personalised video adverts for Independents across the country. The ad can also be used effectively in the digital space.

“The options that come with a national TV campaign are just some of the tools we aim to make available to funeral directors. It can be easy to forget some of the Golden Charter benefits when you are busy and that is natural, but I would hope funeral directors are aware that we have a huge amount of marketing experience and marketing assets that they can use. All of that help is available through a simple conversation with your RSM or BDM.”

And the Golden Charter marketing team is excited to hear some of the good ideas from funeral directors around the county. “If someone is doing really good work out there then we would like to hear about it. We have some funeral directors who are leading the way in terms of digital content. By that I mean videos that they are putting out via social media that really explain what the product is and what the product benefits are.”

Back at the company headquarters in Canniesburn Gate, Glasgow, Karen has been welcomed into the Golden Charter family.

“The team is very good, and I very quickly didn’t feel like the new girl, which is always a benchmark of how quickly you fit in.

“There is a can-do attitude here. I think people know how quickly the company has grown and even the fact that it really has outgrown some of its systems – and not just operational systems but some of the marketing activity and the systems that support that – so the staff tend to do more and go that extra step.”

That dedication by all the staff and independent funeral directors around the country looks set to ensure the future success of Golden Charter in an ever-changing marketplace.

“It’s an interesting environment at the moment . It is very competitive with a lot of activity going on and there are a lot of new entrants, particularly into the digital arena. There are more tech-enabled companies coming into the space, as well as companies in the over-50s insurance space who are all competing with a ‘funeral cost’ message,” Karen added.

“You never stop learning in marketing and that’s the beauty of it. I don’t have all the answers but I am sure, by working together, we will secure our future.”

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