How Tesco used ‘brand shaping insights’ to take calculated risks

The supermarket giant developed a ‘Happiness Platform’ to mine insights into British life, helping it curate a programme of “caring acts” designed to serve both brand and audience.

Tesco MW Awards
Source: Tesco

As consumers braced for new hardships in 2021, Tesco embarked on a mission to make its ‘Every Little Helps’ brand promise a reality.

The plan? Invest in “brand shaping insights” to fuel a strategy of brand altruism. While this approach might impact the bottom line in the short term, Tesco knew it would deliver brand growth in the long term.

Working with agency BBH, the retailer developed ‘The Helpfulness Platform’ – a calendar of insight mining into British life. The team conducted daily social monitoring, alongside weekly ‘State of the Nation’ reports based on YouGov data and UK news stories, local news coverage and Reddit subgroups, analysing trends from abroad and commissioning research into the post-pandemic experience.

The process uncovered a series of consumer insights, from compassion for pubs hit by enforced closures and anxiety about socialising post-lockdown, to the prohibitive cost of essentials like sun cream and concerns about pet wellbeing on returning to the office.

Armed with this insight, Tesco introduced a series of “caring acts”. These included a campaign encouraging shoppers to pop to their local for a drink and a 20% saving on sun cream, as well as discounts on hygiene essentials and pet toys.

While some acts meant sacrificing margin and revenue, the retailer believed the strategy would pay off. Indeed, the supermarket improved its net sentiment score by 32.4 points to 21%, while its comms led to an 8% year-on-year increase on YouGov BrandIndex, helping Tesco win the Marketing Week Award for Insight and Market Research.



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