client stories

Unpacking the culture of grocery shopping

The challenge

Food is one of the most dynamic and fast-changing aspects of our lives. M&S Food wanted help creating the right manifestation of their brand in food, that built on what customers already knew (and expected), yet encouraged them to reconsider the brand.

Our solution

We melded together semiotics analysis of the UK food landscape going back 15 years. Partnering with a leading UK semiotics expert, we mapped how the attitudes and expectations towards food had evolved from expecting perfection in dining, to wanting meaningful connection to their food through relatable eating experiences. We married this understanding with a short quant survey that identified the brand assets M&S uniquely and distinctly owned.

From our recommendations M&S developed new brand concepts which were later validated by testing in store adverts and television commercials in co-creation sessions. In these we got the client and customers together to assess what worked and what needed to be changed.

The outcome

We discovered M&S has its own unique manifestation of humour and value in shoppers’ minds. From this, we created a playbook of do’s and don’ts to feed creative development in the future.

Our strategy guided Marks & Spencer to a brand re-launch, and sat behind the creative vision and implementation of their This is Not Just Food revamp campaign.

We helped M&S with: 

  • Strategy
  • Brand definition
  • Positioning

What was involved:

  • Semiotics
  • Quantitative distinctive assets testing
  • Co-creation focus groups

Specialisms that helped:

  • Running customer closeness events
  • Being collaborative, flexible and open in our approach
  • Combining behavioural data with research data
  • Embedding research and insight into strategy