Stop. Look. Listen. Learn. Do.#1: Tesco

Stop look listen learn do

For the first time in a long while I visited my local Tesco 'Superstore' (on Western Avenue in Cardiff, to be precise) and my brand spidey senses tingled. Something had changed!

Tesco, cardiff, Western Avenue

Now, before anyone is thinking that this is going to be an Anti-Tesco rant, it's not. I do not condone in the slightest the continual trend in domination of the market place by any of the supermarket chains, chain-stores but what we can do is learn from them. At the end of the day, it can only be presumed that they must have one of the largest marketing budgets in the UK to date, and with all those profits, they are obviously doing something effective.

Anyhow, this was an uncharacteristic quick pitstop for simply cash and maybe a bottle of water for myself and my son (aged 8) who accompanied me.

Personally, I shop locally which is an eclectic blend of 'Veg Box Delivery', Ethnic corner shop in Grangetown for pulses/spices etc, Aldi & Lidl for bulk-buys and the occasional continental delicacy, Polski Sklep (for continental beer, sliced meats and different chocolate bars), Canton Veg Shop and an occasional visit to Co-op when others are closed. This is one of the great things about living in Cardiff, plus, by rolling in shopping on the way to/from work and shopping at smaller outlets, I save a bundle and eat like a king! Anyhow, enough about me ...

With my job, I don't particularly buy into many brands … but I do observe. You may say its a case of 'know your enemy', but in the trade, we like to call it 'benchmarking'. I'm also very nosey, inquisitive and the supreme design window twitcher. So, as we pulled into the car park, I was like 'ooh, this has changed a bit'.

So, what have they done with this on-the-ground brand interior refresh and how can we learn from this and apply it to our own (online) brands?

Well, lets have a look at a couple of things.

1. Local local local

Tesco store imagery

The sceptics may be 'Tesco this, Tesco that' … but, they are listening to the public. They are slamming 'locality' and fresh produce in your face at every turn. New imagery instilling visions of local produce and rolling hills are now prominent in the car park. Updated messages conjuring images of farm fresh produce accompany these 'on trend' expectations for local food production and consumption.

2. Wood is good

Tesco wood welcome sign
Tesco wood trolley area

I call this 'the McDonaldisation effect'. You know what I mean. That time that you went into McDonald's a year or so ago, and you were genuinely shocked with the change in decor, the use of wood, the nice lamps and the floor to ceiling wrapped graphics. Well, tesco have gone in similar. There's wood. Lots of wood! EVEN in the trolley parks.

McDonald's wooden decor

3. Fontastic type

Tesco signage

More reminiscent of the new-wave gentrified farmer's markets, the fonts and language brought in to the exterior /interior is chunky, roughish, lowercase and friendly. A far cry from the clinical arial-esque endeavours that currently adorn the website and current marketing material (see below).

Tesco website
Tesco signage

4. Bean there, done that!

Costa coffee seating

What do we have here … we have coffee. A 'real' coffee outlet with the advent of a Costa Coffee shop instore. And yes, it looks like every other Costa Coffee you have ever been to! Lets just hope they have made an alternative provision for accessible parking.

So what can we learn from the work of the 'bigger boys' and how can we relate this to our own (online) brand?

Address problems head on, use negatives to your marketing advantage without necessarily admitting them.

Make a big deal about it. Say that you have changed or what you are now doing differently. Admit mistakes (possibly) but more importantly, say how you've learned from it and how you are now doing it better. The public 'may' empathise and sigh 'arrrgh, poor little Tesco, they aren't that bad really … they buy and source locally - its true because I've seen it on a poster! *conscience appeased*'

Remember when McD's came out with the 'now with real potato campaign' in the late 80s/early 90s. Everyone was like, 'what, they weren't made out of potato in the first place?!?! (nope, instead they were made from soya)' and went and bought more. It worked for apple when it finally brought about video to the iphone (woooooh!)

Include a secondary purpose to your business / website.

I asked my son, what did he notice that was different - he remarked 'they have another shop inside' … and yes they did with the aforementioned Costa Coffee shop. A strategically placed establishment within sight of the main entrance (if at the cost of a few disabled parking spots), but you must first cross the 'lounge of quick-serve-take-away-goodness'. Yes, tesco had their cafe before, but lets face it. Tesco cafe isn't 'down with the kids'. I WANT MY COSTA!

I digress, but a second purpose to your site / business can encourage new traffic / visitors / customers.

Update your brand

We're not talking complete rebranding and refresh, or even changes of key messages. But maybe it is time to diversify your fonts, imagery and messages. Maybe your website or business deals with different sectors, use of different fonts and calls-to-actions is a great way to differentiate between sectors. Commissioning photography and video can give you heaps of new material that you can use on your social channels and website and allow you to view the business from a slightly different perspective.

Force visitor paths

As simple as putting the coffee shop just after the quick pay-at-counter service. For you and your online business, it may be a case of forcing a visitor to view a certain amount of information before they can make their next choice. For example, maybe when people land on your site, you make sure they have to read (or at least view) the whole of the homepage before being able to move on the rest of the website or make people have to view all your services next to each other (so they can clearly observe your whole service range) rather than allowing people to be able to shortcut to specific pages via drop-downs ... just a thought!

In summary, its important to never stop learning and being inspired by other individuals, businesses and organisations. Take inspiration from every opportunity. Look at what is working and isn't working for other people, no matter the industry. If you stand still for too long you risk becoming stale, move too fast and you risk upsetting the applecart. It really is a case of getting comfy and making sure that your brand's ride is a comfy one and this only comes from investing back into your brand through time and/or money.