October 22nd, 2014 By Caspar Mason
Ladies and gentlemen, a new battleground in the supermarket wars has emerged: brand experience.
The 2008 crash has had a long-tail effect on British shoppers. Discount chains, such as Germany’s Lidl, have seen their fortunes rise dramatically. Just a few years ago, shopping there was an embarrassing secret for many. Now it’s a badge of honour for frugal consumers.
And the dominant supermarket chains are worried. So Morrisons, the 4th biggest chain in the UK, tried to play them at their own game by announcing they’d price match Lidl. And Lidl have responded…in a very interesting way. Rather than slashing prices further, they’ve taken out full-page press ads, detailing a point-by-point takedown of the crappy user experience sitting beneath Morrisons’ offer.
It used to be that a great ad could plaster over rubbish service – British Telecom did just that in the 80s with some brilliant ads and some terrible customer service. But now, we have comms being used to point out the flaws in the customer experience.
We’ve said it before: brands are verbs. They’re the sum total of your experience of them, the combination of every touchpoint: from ads and PR to customer service and in-store experience. Put another way, advertising is what you say, brand experience is what you do. And if your comms make a promise your experience can’t deliver on…you’re going to get found out.