Sainsbury’s brand plan: Every Little Helps!

posted on May 11th 2012 in Branding & Marketing with 0 Comments

Amongst the doom and gloom of recession, companies entering administration and the EU ticking time bomb we had a brand success story last week. Sainsbury’s posted a 5.6% increase in profits and reported they’d, “Had a good year.”

In one of our recent blogs (here) we illustrated how to learn from mega brands like Tesco on surviving recession. In stark contrast to Sainsbury’s, Tesco reported falling UK sales, whilst Sainsbury’s captured over 16% of the market. Wow!

More to the point, why?

Great brand positioning

Sainsbury’s developed a great brand positioning – something clever to unite their brand and marketing behind. “Live well for less” has driven their advertising, promotions, product behaviour and selection as well as their pricing.

Knowing what your brand stands for, how it articulates itself and what makes it unique within the market is a hugely important exercise for any business to undergo. It becomes absolutely critical once you get beyond sole trader and partnership status.

What can other businesses learn?

Whilst Tesco concentrated on expansion, Sainsbury’s invested in their brand, and got clever people to think about the best way to position and market themselves. They have:

  • Invested in great stores, that are nicely designed
  • Revamped their products, with new additions, improvements and better designed packaging
  • Looked at offers, with coupons at the till and extending their Nectar partnership
  • Invested in a nice, clean, well designed website (that’s resulted in an increase in web operations of 20%)
  • Got the message out in clear, well designed and effective communications

But they have more money?

True, they can afford expensive TV ads and ad-breaks – but the principles are the same for business with smaller budgets. Invest in clever brand thinking, great design and marketing that works consistently through what you do and you can succeed even in difficult times.

Let your brand stagnate, make do with the old logo, website or shop front and well…ask Tesco.

The clever brand positioning bit: “Live well for less”

It’s worth looking at the Sainsbury’s brand positioning in a bit of detail as it highlights why this type of work can be so powerful. Breaking it up:

“Live well” – sets them apart from Tesco and Morrison (who they have stolen market share from). It feels more premium and aspirational, and it’s double meaning can also feel healthy too. Very clever, given most people given the choice want to live well!

“For less” – more clever thinky stuff that’s basically saying Sainsbury’s are just as price conscious and are looking out for your pocket. Yes, Tesco and Asda do value, but we do too.

Clever thinking with a brand that looks good will generate results, the battle of the supermarkets just goes to prove it.

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