Sit and watch TV these days and be inundated by commercials for the big retailers… and once again they’ve got an equally similar, and equally non-differentiated positioning, and the big question is, “is this credible”?
“Woolworths – the fresh food people” “There’s no freshness like Coles”
Confused? Surprised? Bored? Uninspired? I watched these ads on TV yesterday and wondered, ‘do 2 competitors, operating in what is best described basically as a duopoly add to, or dilute the “fresh” message when they’re both yelling it from the rafters?’ Does the fact that Woolies were “the fresh food people” for years under Roger Corbett’s reign, and then left that message behind until now, add to, or dilute their message the 2nd time around??? And what of their constant hammering on about low, low prices, and ‘down down, deeper and down’? Did they finally discover that price reductions, while good for wallets, did nothing for the brand? No surprise there! There is no equity driving strong and sustainable brands evolving from severe price reductions. It is also THE most easily imitable strategy known to the marketplace. The other lesson is that if you both do it, then it’s no longer anything other than the entry cost for a given market.
So ponder the significance of price for yourselves and your business.
Of course, it is critical that you have a price that reflects your offering, which is sustainable for consumers in your market, but it should also represent the value that you bring to the end user of your product or service. Avoid the retailer’s dilemma of ending up in a downward spiral where price is just an expected place and recognise, as they have, that you need something else that is the true benefit of a consumer buying your goods. The ‘watch out’ is that you don’t want to be a brand with the same strategy and proposition as your main competitor.
In my opinion, Coles and Woolworths have no credibility for fresh now.
They both say it, yet they both have reputations for importing, freezing and thawing products, and no matter how much they try and tell us that is not the case, their credibility is shot. Their issue is that they both say it in the same way. Neither has found an interesting or inspiring way to deliver the message that would add to their point of difference and make consumers reconsider their choice. Has either retailer managed to sway you from their competitor to them based on their current fruit and veggie fresh messages? That they come from the Australian land-wow, that’s new!? I doubt it. Be aware of what your competitors are doing, but please focus on what consumers want, and understand the dynamics of your users and their needs. Don’t be like these guys who are maniacally focused on what each other is doing, and little else. In the end, it comes back to 4 age-old marketing requirements…be clear, be differentiated, be interesting and be real!