A market in turmoil
The supermarket industry in the UK is in upheaval. The ‘big box’, out of town retail models favoured by most of the Big 4 (as the four largest supermarkets in the UK are known) has proven dangerously out of date as consumers have moved towards smaller, more regular and more local shops. Added to this is the entrance to the market of the discounters – brands like Aldi and Lidl whose business model allows them to undercut their competitors on price whilst still offering excellent quality.
This was the context when we were appointed to work for Asda, the UK’s second largest supermarket, who were feeling the pressures of the new market reality as much as anyone else. Also about to embark on a significant expansion in the South of England, they wanted a revitalised brand to help mitigate market pressures and enable growth.
Reframing the challenge
Our first intervention was to encourage within Asda a strategic reframing of market conditions. We suggested that brands like Aldi and Lidl were disruptors not discounters, serving wants as well as needs. This helped embed within the business an understanding that the war could not be won on price alone, and that dialing up the emotional dimension of the brand was just as important as competing on price.
The brand we subsequently created was based around the idea of ‘The People’s Champion’, a positioning that leveraged Asda’s heritage as a cooperative and their desire to always be on the side of the consumer. We developed a set of symbols to bring the idea to life, from a major initiative that would crystallise the new positioning in the minds of consumers through to a detailed customer journey that investigated and made recommendations for every Asda touchpoint.
A revitalised visual language helps bring Asda’s unique spirit to life. Its pride in its products, its care for its suppliers and colleagues, and its desire to always be on the side of the customer all set Asda apart. A more vibrant colour palette, a true-to-life photography style that celebrates the everyday quirks and characters of their customers and colleagues, and a punchy and impactful tone of voice help communicate in a simple, honest way. A new logo helps Asda move a bit closer to its parent company, Walmart, ensuring they form a mutually beneficial visual relationship.
Watch this space
The new brand is currently being rolled out across all of Asda’s touchpoints, with their new stores first to benefit. The new positioning is helping to inform their efforts to better connect with their customers. And an understanding that the threat to their market position comes from disruption, not discounting, will stand Asda in good stead as events in the industry – many of which continue to make front page news – unfold.
People photography supplied courtesy of Kerry Harrison Photography.