Since most of the agencies I work for are Shopper Marketing focused (welcome to Leeds!) I always keep a close eye on the Grocery sector, as do most of my agency mates.
Grocery is knee-deep in challenges at the moment (the Discounters, provenance, excess floor space, trying to make Online pay, wafer thin margins, Marmitegate, the continuing shift from Big Shop to Top Ups etc.) and Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are all taking clear steps to address these, from Sainsbury’s buying Argos and bringing Habit instore to Morrisons revamping their loyalty scheme and Tesco’s serious range reduction and behind-the-scenes cost-cutting. Meanwhile, in Convenience (the spiritual home of Top Up Shopping), the Co-op is seriously upping it’s game rolling a new brand identity instore and on pack, a new membership/loyalty scheme and brand messaging built on Provenance.
As for Asda…apart from being very shouty about Price (yet without undercutting Aldi and Lidl) they appear to be stuck in a bit of a time warp. I popped into one of their older stores this morning and Yazz’s 1988 hit The Only Way Is Up blasting throughout the store on full volume didn’t exactly detract from that impression. The format was looking very tired and the only things obviously differentiating them from the discounters were the George clothing range and manned fresh food counters. There was certainly no sign of Helping our customers live better (which is currently all over their website) their current endline Save Money, Live Better OR their current brand campaign That’s Better
Unusually, I am not currently working for any of Asda’s agencies, but the impression I get from those who are is that Asda is still struggling to find a positioning it can own and deliver on. To be fair, for a brand that built it’s business on Price, only to be undercut by the Discounters, that’s a tall order.
HT to the lovely Steve Dresser’s excellent Grocery Insight subscription e-newsletter that tracks what’s going on in Grocery in real time – if you work in Shopper Marketing, crack open the education/training budget and get signed up