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Why Waitrose Wants to Bring the Feel-Good Factor to British Shoppers


The supermarket’s new ‘Food to feel good about’ strategic shift seeks to reassure cash-strapped consumers with a positive message about ethics, taste, quality, and value, Waitrose’s Martin George tells LBB’s Laura Swinton

Why Waitrose Wants to Bring the Feel-Good Factor to British Shoppers
As the cost of living crisis looms over the UK, with inflation hitting a 40-year high, consumers are thinking more carefully about where they’re spending their money. It’s into this challenging environment that supermarket brand Waitrose has launched its new campaign and brand positioning. ‘Food to feel good about’ underscores the brand’s commitment to ethics, quality, taste and, of course, value. The campaign, which was developed by adam&eveDDB, seeks to highlight the high-end supermarket’s unique sense of purpose and to present shoppers with a positive and reassuring message.

According to Martin George, customer director at Waitrose, it was important to underline the brand’s commitment to quality, value and ethics. Waitrose is part of the John Lewis Partnership, an employee-owned business that operates under a distinctive model where power is shared across 80,000 ‘Partners’. Within the broader economic context, it’s a message and model that’s more pertinent than ever.

“Our new brand expression builds on the direction set in our Partnership Purpose, our Waitrose Customer Strategy and our Waitrose Plan On A Page,” says Martin. “With our customers becoming increasingly discerning about where they spend their money, we're confident our brand refresh will help make Waitrose feel more relevant and more compelling. It's really important for us to be loud and proud about our quality, taste, ethics and value - to celebrate food that makes a positive difference.”
The launch campaign, shot by Hungryman’s Bryan Buckley, is a celebration of the farmers and suppliers that Waitrose works with, and underlines principles such as the brand’s high animal welfare standards and strong relationships with suppliers and ethical provenance. The voiceover, from Stath Lets Flats star Jamie Demetriou, encourages viewers to follow their curiosity and ask questions, while also positioning Waitrose as a brand that's willing to question the status quo and to push harder to find a 'better way'. At a time when the British press is full of gloomy headlines, the tone is defiantly joyful and presents an optimisic way forward for society.  And given a renewed interest in alternative ownership models among the British public - such as a surge in support of nationalisation of utilities - Waitrose ethos and unique business model may find a receptive audience.

While the positioning and campaign build on Waitrose’ purpose and values, the team were keen to ensure that they were listening to customers and partners to build a relevant brand expression. As Martin explains, the team undertook an extensive and in-depth research project with customers to ensure they were tapping into the things that are important to them.
“We spoke to over 4,000 target customers through highly iterative rounds of quantitative and qualitative testing to understand their attitudes today, whilst identifying the macro trends that will shape their behaviours tomorrow. Exploring our brand’s natural strengths, and how we might reframe Waitrose for the future to be even more compelling, led us to a new Brand Promise: Food to Feel Good About,” says Martin.
Indeed, it was at the behest of the brand’s Partners and customers that the new campaign is more vocal about the unique things that make them proud of the supermarket.
“We've always been obsessed with listening to our customers, so we already know they see us as principled with a strong heritage as a business with purpose - with our Partners at the heart of everything we do. But they wanted us to be louder and prouder about the things that make Waitrose, Waitrose - whether that's our long standing relationships with our farmers, our high animal welfare standards or our ‘Essential’ range which will never compromise on quality and taste but offers great value for money,” says Martin.
And, inevitably, the economic worries and woes facing British consumers were a key concern. The humanity, warmth and grounded nature of the campaign does much to paint an optimistic and reassuring image for consumers - which the team hopes will combine with value lines and offers to keep shoppers engaged.

“We know value is more important than ever and as we continue to go through this period of significant change we are committed to reassuring customers of our great offers across the whole range whether that is through meal deals, myWaitrose offers, our ‘Essential' range and many more.”
The new campaign and brand expression also comes hot on the heels of Waitrose’s sister brand John Lewis, which also launched a new brand promise earlier this month. The retail brand has replaced its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ pledge (which dates back to 1925) with a new strapline, ‘for all life’s moments’, which has been designed to emphasise John Lewis as a destination for people’s day-to-day needs.  The Waitrose and John Lewis brands’ refreshed brand expressions are rooted in the same ‘Partnership Purpose’ and overall values. 

“Both brands are lucky to share a clear Partnership Purpose which underpins everything we do. For over a 100 years we’ve believed that business can be a force for good but, just as the world and other businesses are changing, so must we," says Martin. "Our new joyfully bold personality across both brands allows us to show up more loudly and proudly, confident in being relevant and compelling brands for our target customers for today and tomorrow.”


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Categories: Supermarkets, Retail and Restaurants

LBB Editorial, Wed, 21 Sep 2022 16:50:11 GMT