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Monday
Jun252012

Woolworths Change of Strategy

By now you would have seen the new TV ad for Woolworths (if not, a snippet is on the video below from a segment we did on Sunrise). While the ad itself may not win a Cannes Lion, I really like the overall strategy of the campaign.

Research found that most consumers don’t know that all their meat and most of their fruit & vegetables are sourced in Australia. In fact, it also showed most consumers did not know that fruit & vegetables had seasons, so there is a plausible reason to import goods at times.

Another factor here could also be trust. A lot of negative press in recent times about the big duopoly (with Coles) has caused the general public to become somewhat cynical to advertising claims by the supermarket giants.

The advertising of late has been more about price, rewards programs and supposed service in stores (which does not match reality). The price wars are a real race to the bottom which not only erodes margin but educates the customer to think of the brand as a commodity - not a great position when all you have is price!

So what we are seeing now is a huge shift in marketing focus.

The campaign will see the addition of the word “Australia’s” in the tagline (now Australia’s Fresh Food People) which is pushing the line that their produce is not only fresh but also supporting local farmers (also a nice little jab at overseas owned competitors).

This is further enhanced by using real staff, truck drivers and farmers rather than actors. This is a way of building a connection with consumers by humanising the brand. In Smart Business, Social Business, Michael Brito writes “your employees are the most authentic expression of your brand. Start with them”.

Soon some of the  walls in Woolworths will be ripped down and replaced with glass to expose the behind-the-scenes operations of each store, allowing customers to see butchers and bakers at work on-site (the bakers will be baking during the day not at night). While transparency can be risky, it is also an effective way to build trust.

In recent times Coles “down down” ads and the use of celebrity chefs has given them the lead in the advertising war. Instead of going head to head, Woolworths is changing the battlefront - by being first, they have the advantage. 

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