BY STUART HUKE, MARKETING DIRECTOR
I have always considered myself to be a bit of a brand snob, happily going through life ensuring that anything I do or product that I buy is with an established, well-known brand that gives me the kudos that only a brand snob would desire. For years I would tell my partner “No, I will not set foot in Aldi or Lidl and don’t even get me started on ASDA! I shop at Waitrose and that’s that!”
But all this has changed, I’ve changed and all by stepping into my new favourite Brands store…..Lidl!
Now maybe this has more to do with life events, what’s in my wallet these days or the fact that three kids are expensive; but my outlook on brands has completely changed. I also put this down to a new type of Brand; one that has the power to change perceptions, challenge traditional thinking and, before you know it, make you shower with something called Cien!!!!
I stepped into this new land of Lidl, full of trepidation and fear about who was looking and judging me only to have one of those very rare moments in life……………a moment of surprise and wonder!
Yes, it was not clean cut as the mother brands but it drew me in, bombarding me with unusual names, cheap prices but with food options that appealed to me. Soon my trolley was full and I was filled with delight until I got to the checkout.
To this day I don’t get how a human being can scan so much shopping that quickly, as I struggled with the concept of filling the trolley back up and then going over to the shelf to pack into bags! But before I had a chance for this new concept to frustrate me to my normal grumpy old man state, the monotone till worker (the world can’t change that fast!) soon left with a warm fuzzy feeling when she read out the final amount. “Excuse me…….what did you just say?” I whispered to my partner “Quick, run…….they have made a mistake!”, but no, it was really that cheap! At least half the price of the old faithful Waitrose.
And the thing is, their product is good! The food tastes as good, if not better in some cases. Their recent adverts taking social posts and answering perceived myths about the quality of their Turkeys and Sprouts were an excellent way to challenge perceptions. In addition I really like the way they have tackled feeding your children a whole packed lunch for the same price some supermarkets charge for a lump of cheddar, - genius! They have totally succeeded in changing my shopping habits.
But this for me is not the only major achievement of their brand. They have even made me question all other brands in a way that I never did before. When you scratch below the surface, are these super brands really delivering great product and brand experience? I find in a lot of cases no they do not, so much so you see challenger brands popping up all over the place………Ovo Energy, another one of my favourite new brands, challenging convention and giving the established ‘Big 6’ a great big shellacking!
For me there is new Brand power in play, one that is not just based on who has the biggest wallets, but those who deliver a new experience, concentrate on delivering a great product and convince you to challenge your own thinking.
Am I still a brand snob? I am not going to lie, I can still be won over by amazing design, a great looking logo and adverts promising the earth (Sonos, Amazon Echo & Audi to name but a few!) but my outlook has changed..…..and I look forward to walking forward in this new brand landscape.