June 03rd, 2024
Reading time 3 min.

Elevating a Brand through Video Advertising

Challenges in a Competitive Landscape

Nestled in the heart of Stavelot, Belgium, Ardennes étape has carved a niche for itself as a premium holiday home rental company. They have been providing unforgettable holiday experiences since 2016, striking a harmonious balance between vacationers, homeowners, locals, and nature. 

Having the core values of their brand platform reconnection, authenticity, care, responsibility, and empowerment reflected in their business, is what propelled them to the forefront of their industry. 

Since COVID, Ardennes étape has achieved record years. However, with growing competition from larger companies like Airbnb or Center Parcs, the company faces the challenge of maintaining its high level of performance and attraction of local customers within a 300km radius from Belgium and the Netherlands. 


New Marketing Approach

Enhancing brand awareness and image was key to ensure keeping these performances long-term.  This is why Ardennes étape transitioned away from a performance marketing only approach. They decided to trigger activations throughout the funnel, investing more into the brand with the aim of boosting awareness, consideration, and performance. 

This shift meant a new marketing tactic for both Belgium and the Netherlands, one that could effectively leverage video assets and create impactful brand messages that would be broadcast on high audience’s platforms such as linear TV.

For Ardennes étape, entering the Netherlands as a new market, was an additional challenge, requiring a profound and long-term approach with the aim of a favourable ROI.

To follow the results of this TV campaign both in the Netherlands and Belgium, Ardennes étape decided to put in place a “brand tracker” survey to analyse the improvements in brand awareness and image, especially regarding the newly defined Brand Platform.

"It was beneficial to have a direct contact to the media owner who was very reactive when it came to deliver analysis and information.”

Brand & Communication Manager at Ardennes étape
Charlotte Frenay

Ardennes étape's Initial TV Campaign

Ardennes étape's foray into the Netherlands market began between August and September 2023 with their first wave of TV ads. The brand had created a series of six engaging videos reflecting their new essence with a clear statement: Ardennes étape helps people get to know each other better. From the advertising video series, the two picked for the Dutch market were "Oma" (Granny) and "Warhoofd" (Scatterbrain).

Ardennes étape's Spot "Oma" (Granny)

Ardennes étape's Spot "Warhoofd" (Scatterbrain)

Brand Lift Study for first TV Wave

The campaign's effectiveness was gauged through a Brand Lift Study conducted by RTL AdAlliance. 

The key learnings were encouraging. Ardennes étape had successfully engaged consumers and confirmed its positive image as an accommodation provider in the Ardennes. 

Both spots were liked by half of the viewers, and the campaign's clarity and believability resulted in a high memorisation rate, which greatly improved the awareness and image of Ardennes étape.

Adjustments for second TV Wave

In response to the findings, adjustments were made for the second TV wave, which took place from January to February 2024. 

This second campaign was more streamlined as the advertiser decided to focus on a single spot rather that two, so it can be better recalled, appreciated, and linked to the brand. 

Encouraged by the strong results of the first wave, Ardennes étape increased their budget to harness the full potential of TV in the Dutch market, aligning the communication with the Flemish market as well.

Ardennes étape's Spot "Tante" (Aunt)

Positive Results and Brand Metrics Improvement

RTL AdAlliance provided another analysis of this second approach. 

Key learnings revealed that the new spot was easy to understand, appreciated by nearly two-thirds of respondents, and was significantly more favoured than the previous spots.  It’s entertainment factor encouraged viewers to discuss and rewatch it, leading to better memorisation. As a result, all brand KPIs including awareness and brand image of Ardennes étape saw a positive upwards trend.

Both waves also registered positive on the “Brand Tracker” indicators: significant increase of the aided awareness, slight improvement of top-of-mind awareness, and increase on all brand value points. Understanding of the brand functional benefits has also progressed.

Next Steps

This year, Ardennes étape will launch a third TV campaign in August and run it through September, implementing the study's findings and collaborating closely with RTL AdAlliance once more. 

To see if the results can be confirmed for every commercial tested, one of the six new spots will be tested again. 

Based on all findings, more commercials will be produced in 2025, providing Ardennes étape with the opportunity to review the way they use their media budget and the broadcast strategy of their TV spots.