Living the brand: retailers encouraged to focus on acts not ads

brand gesture, brand experience, brand actsTesco says a little less talk and a lot more action!

Aligning brand identity with behaviour and delivery has always been a constant theme of discussions we have with our clients. That’s why I was pleased to see this is now becoming a priority for one of the world’s largest retailers.

Tesco’s CCO recently told the marketing faithful that brands need to ditch their focus on advertising to ask what ‘acts’ they do to help their consumers.

Matt Atkinson, chief creative officer at Tesco, recently spoke at Mumstock London, a conference about marketing to mums. He stressed that brands need to get the right balance between activity in the real world and advertising. There is a need for more action and less ads.

“What acts do you as a brand, rather than just what advertising you do, is the central question you need to ask,” he explains. “We think a lot about how we can deliver helpfulness to our customers and weave it into the fabric of their lives.”

Atkins talked about how Tesco is focused on delivering genuine brand gestures that are valued by their core audience, the hurried housewife.

One example is Tesco’s Farm to Fork education programme. Addressing a community need for food education and perhaps also following on some of the work Jamie Oliver has been doing, Farm to Fork is delivering real value to primary school children and their mums.

Developed by education experts, the programme is now part of the education system across the UK. Tesco has now taken 650,000 children behind the scenes on farm tours to find out where their food comes from.

brand gesture, brand act, brand experience

The shift in thinking has also resulted in Tesco removing sweets from checkouts.

“We think about the whole customer journey and how we can contribute. Taking sweets off checkouts is important. It’s not an advertising campaign but it’s the body language of our brand.”

This theme of creating valued customer experiences was also a big theme at this years SXSW gathering in Texas. Most agreed that this only happens by true collaboration between the client and agency.

However, the conversation around ROI is still a challenge for many clients. While brand sentiment can track some of the results they may not translate into sales straightaway. Ultimately, clients need to be thinking about building a long-term relationship with their customers and this will pay off over time.

More importantly, great brand experiences provide a much stronger emotional connection to the brand which will not only help the brand stay relevant but also make any other advertising more memorable and effective.

Michael Hughes
Managing Partner, Strategy

1 Comment

  1. “This theme of creating valued customer experiences was also a big theme at this years SXSW gathering in Texas. Most agreed that this only happens by true collaboration between the client and agency.”

    Between the client & agency? True collaboration would break down the walls of these entities, who still consider themselves the “Masters of the Universe”, to allow the customer/consumer real participation and influence. Consumers Dominate Brands.

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