Magazine article Marketing

Asda Lays Itself Open

Magazine article Marketing

Asda Lays Itself Open

Article excerpt

The supermarket is turning to consumer wisdom to inform its business decisions.

Empowering the consumer has become the fashionable strategy of 2009. In the past two weeks alone, Vodafone has unveiled its fresh 'Power to you' brand positioning and Yahoo! has launched an ad campaign with the tagline 'It's you'. Now it seems that Asda, too, is following the trend.

Asda's president and chief executive, Andy Bond, believes that businesses are being forced to adapt to a new era of 'democratic consumerism' which has emerged from the 'digital explosion and the trust vacuum'. He says people are 'more connected than ever before, and they are putting their trust in themselves and each other'.

In response, the retailer has revealed a long-term strategy designed to engage with customers to regain lost trust and, ultimately, inspire greater loyalty.

As part of this strategy, Asda has rolled out three initiatives. First, the company is to build on its existing Pulse of the Nation shopper panel of 18,000 people to ask them for their views on the design of upcoming George clothing ranges and new food and household lines. It has named this open-door policy 'Chosen By You'.

Balanced input

Bond says Chosen By You is a 'radical step' for Asda, marking the first time consumers have been involved in the early product-design process The company plans to seek the panel's views every six weeks as it prepares additional George clothing ranges.

However, he admits that consumer input will have to be balanced with Asda's overall brand promise of everyday low prices.

Nonetheless, Anthony Thompson, managing director of George, believes there are significant in-store marketing opportunities for Chosen By You. He says that Asda could highlight the ranges chosen by its customers with item tags along the same lines as those used for 'booksellers' choice reading recommendations'.

The second initiative is the 'Bright Ideas' cash-reward scheme, which Asda is set to introduce next year. This will offer participants up to 5% of any money saved by the retailer if their idea is put into practice.

Asda marketing chief Rick Bendel will develop a campaign for promoting Bright Ideas next year. 'We absolutely need to market this because we want to engage with as many customers as we can,' says Bond.

The third prong of the supermarket's strategy involves giving consumers unprecedented access to its business and employees. …

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