Following Tesco updating its Value range to Everyday Value with Rocket Design, and the announcement that the supermarket is reviewing its ad account, Gareth Healey, managing partner of Gratterpalm, takes a look at the branding of value products in the retail sector and the importance of ensuring that the branding of such products keeps pace with changing consumer trends and the wider retail climate.
With the current retail climate changing faster than ever, and consumer trends keeping pace, it’s essential that companies review and update their brands regularly to stay relevant and maintain their market share.
This being the case, the question that came to mind when I heard that Tesco was set to rebrand its value range was: why has it taken so long? As one of the UK’s leading supermarket retailers - and the one that claims to have launched the very first value range - I would have expected Tesco to have modernised and re-launched its sub-brand long before now.
The company is significantly lagging behind other major supermarket retailers such as Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, who have all updated their value brands in the last 12 months. Despite the fact that it is still the market leader, in this respect Tesco seems to have become a victim of its own success, trapped in the middle ground between trying to be the cheapest and appealing to everybody.
Having launched in the early 1990s when the UK was in the midst of the last recession, the Tesco value range is, admittedly, in dire need of an image overhaul. The stark blue and white striped label is outdated not just visually, but also in its connotations. Almost 20 years on from when it was introduced onto the market, the branding now looks a little cheap, and this is one word with which the modern consumer most definitely does not want to be associated. Despite these trying economic times, there remains a typically British sense of pride and nobody wants to be seen at the supermarket checkout with a basket full of bargain-basement products.
Whoever gave birth to it, the ‘no frills’ genre has now clearly evolved into something more mainstream where ‘value’ must mean just that. In order to meet both the functional and emotional needs of the consumer, these sub-brands must portray a message of good quality at an affordable price, rather than just the cheapest available. By adding the word ‘Everyday’, Tesco is attempting to give its cash-strapped customers permission to buy into the brand, and to overcome any feelings of guilt about choosing the most basic products to feed their families.
With its 1950s inspired branding replacing the blue and white striped design of old, the new-look value range is hardly ground-breaking, but it is relevant both to the products it sells and the modern marketplace; it’s colourful, yet simple - no frills and no fuss. And with so many offers and brand messages competing to be heard in today’s retail market, it could be argued that simple is best when it comes to attracting consumers. But, design aside, one thing is for sure; the Tesco Everyday value range will not last another 20 years before its next makeover.