Posts Tagged ‘SuperValu’

Big brands and the shopping bag test

July 14, 2014

Shopping Bags

We pop the boot open and the usual process of fishing out a bag or two to do our shopping starts.

I really hate having to do a big ‘weekly shop‘ so most of our shopping is done as required. The store we normally find ourselves at is Quish’s SuperValu where the staff are really friendly and it is the closest one to our home. While the selection of stock isn’t always too hectic it is a handy store for us and shopping there never feels like a chore.

When I pop the boot open I have to quickly grab a bag or two and I’m surprised how this simple exercise shows me how I feel about the different retailer brands and the ones I align with most.

My first choice is the SuperValu bag – after all, thats the shop I am going into and I feel its a good thing to bring a bag from the same store with you. It must drive a store manager nuts to see shoppers entering or leaving their store carrying a competitors shopping bag with them. I know it would really irritate me if a client came to us with some POS or other material from a competitor.

I also love the SuperValu franchise model and I feel this owner operator ethos leads to friendly community orientated stores often including a support and buy local agenda.

My next choice is the Marks & Spencer bag. This surprises me as I always like to support Irish but I do admire their dedication to quality food and I guess I am happy for that to be part of ‘my personal brand‘ as I do my shopping.

The M&S choice probably makes me look like a snob but my next bag choice would be either Aldi or Lidl. To be honest I can’t differentiate between either of these brands and regularly get them mixed up. I really don’t enjoy the shopping experience in these stores but I admire the simple value proposition and huge strides seem to have been made with quality and there seems to be a genuine effort to buy Irish. The adverts are working!

My next choice is Tesco. As a brand it still leaves me cold, with no stand out proposition but I do admire their Irish producers programme in conjunction with Bord Bia. Even though their share performance has been suffering they seem to believe that the Irish producers strategy will play a big role in winning in Ireland.

Bord Bia Tesco Supplier Development Programme

They are doing some great work with Irish producers improving their operations so they can do more business with Tesco.

My very last choice is the Dunnes Stores bag. Why is an Irish company, the one I should logically have an allegiance to, be the one that I connect with least? I really don’t get their brand proposition, I don’t understand it, I don’t see them connecting locally like SuperValu and nationally I don’t see any noise about supporting Irish – they could be the best at this but if they are I don’t know about it.

I know this is just my view and that my simple ‘picking a bag from the boot‘ analysis isn’t very scientific but then I look at the latest market shares in Ireland published in May 2014 and reported in the Irish Independent and see how closely aligned the reality is to my feelings.

German retailers Aldi and Lidl have continued to snap at the heels of Dunnes Stores, with the pair now commanding a combined 17.1pc share of Ireland’s multi-billion euro grocery market

Tesco retained its top ranking, but remains under pressure. Its market share fell 4.1pc to 26.3pc in the latest period, while Dunnes Stores also saw its position further weakened. Its share slipped 1.3pc to 21.6pc

SuperValu the chain controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group – continues to snap at Tesco’s heels. Its share of the market, which includes its now rebranded Superquinn chain, rose 0.5pc to 25.1pc, confirming its second place in the supermarket wars

Industry insiders said the latest figures will be another wake-up call for both Tesco and Dunnes Stores in particular

Maybe Tesco and Dunnes Stores should do the shopping bag test?

How do customers feel when they pick up a bag from your store?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork




Superquinn and the Sausage that lost it’s Sizzle

February 15, 2014
Superquinn - The Last Day

Feargal Quinn pictured with family as the Superquinn name is taken down

In marketing we often say “Don’t talk about the sausage, talk about the sizzle!

Instead of talking about the “thing” we talk about how it makes you feel, the benefits, the mood, the emotion, that sense of occasion.

A sausage according to wikipedia is: a food usually made from ground meat with a skin around it. Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made from intestine, but sometimes synthetic. Some sausages are cooked during processing and the casing may be removed after.

Yummy.. Imagine marketing that product!

Ironically this week where we witnessed the last nail in the coffin of the once fabulous Superquinn brand we heard the MD of SuperValu, Martin Kelliher reassuring customers that the sausages would be retained!

Is that the very last thing to survive of the brand or does the sausage in some way represent everything that was once special about Superquinn for shoppers?

When I worked in Dublin for Guinness during the mid nineties I was living near the Clondalkin area. Even though I had my own music store in the Mill Centre in Clondalkin where there was a Dunnes Stores, my weekly grocery shopping was done in Superquinn in Lucan, a good 20 minutes away by car.

Somehow shopping in Superquinn just didn’t feel too painful (I hate shopping) because of the atmosphere, the store layout, the smells, the unusual selection of food, the food samples, the fabulous wine selection and the genuine friendly service. Of course the sausages were different and these were bought from time to time!

Feargal Quinn and his team were delivering a product and service at a level way above all other Irish grocery competitors, which helped to build the successful brand, Superquinn.

The Superquinn brand was built using a unique mix of ingredients just like their famous sausages, which they had clearly perfected.

Incredibly there is a support group for their famous sausages!

On this support group they say:

Superquinn sausagesIn 1976 Superquinn perfected the pork sausage, nothing else even comes close. If I was a pig I would feel privileged to donate my body to a noble cause like this. Following a trip to Germany in early 1976, Feargal Quinn decided that Superquinn would create the perfect sausage for Irish tastes. Superquinn butcher, Pat Kelly was the lucky man faced with the ultimate challenge

Feargal Quinn seemed to take this approach with everything he did in his stores – they were different and they were better.

Over time the other grocery chains improved, the differences weren’t as different as they once were and the special ethos that once defined Superquinn started to dissolve.

When Feargal Quinn sold the stores to an investor group who had no experience in the very challenging sector the once special sizzle started to disappear and the business went backwards.

Are you minding the sizzle in your business?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

“It’s a Long way to Tipperary”

July 14, 2012
Its a Long way to Tipperary festival

Everyone is Happy !

“Everyone is happy” we heard the old gentleman say to the person he was with as we walked past him on the street.

“Everyone is happy” he repeated, this time a little louder to make sure what he was saying registered with his buddy.

This was the main street in Tipperary town, and the “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” Festival that our client , Tipperary Co-op were sponsoring was in full swing.

We had just left the Tipperary Co-op Hardware store, or Top Creamery as the locals know it and there was a great buzz with threshing, old kids games, people enjoying the BBQ and of course plenty of banter. I spoke to a friendly gentleman from Rossmore called Liam O’Dwyer who was giving a blacksmith demonstration – he had an incredible display of old signs and as part of this was an old “Death Penny” from World War 1 (I’ll tell you about that in a separate blog!).

In our stroll down the town the locals were in full spirits, stopping to chat and enquiring where we were from. A old woman stopped me and I had to sign a book that apparently promised her a dance later! We popped into a small shop that had a full display of war memorabilia including war posters and a full history of the iconic song. Once again we were overwhelmed by the friendliness and warmth of the people there. The immortal song was made famous during World War 1 by the soldiers all over Europe.

Making the whole festival (which was celebrating 100 years of the iconic song) really special and great fun was that many people in the town were dressed in costume from that era.

It's a Long Way to Tipperary

Altogether now ….

(Imagine the anniversary of this famous song passing without marking it in any way – in Fuzion we refer to this as “Never Wasting a Good Story” – there is a huge PR tip for you!)

When we arrived in the town we had parked at the other side and walked all the way through. There were vintage cars, old tractors and motorbikes, people dressed up, everyone posing for photos, posters and banners and a fabulous, genuine “feel good atmosphere“.

Before we left the town we popped into the Tipperary Co-op owned SuperValu, which had its own exhibitions, competitions and the team there joined in the spirit of the festival wearing clothes from that era as well – all except for Pierce, the manager of course!

When we were there we were chatting to the guys from Tipperary Co-op, Richard, Pierce and Tom. They were thrilled with how their sponsorship of the festival had worked out but more than that they explained how the festival seemed to “unlock” a sense of spirit and fun in the town that seemed to have disappeared over the last few years through a mixture or recession, bad weather and general worries.

Maybe, everyone took a step back and grabbed onto some old values from a time when life was a little simpler.

As the old gentleman had said ..”Everyone is happy“.

It was worth repeating.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

The SuperValu Girl!

November 28, 2009

The SuperValu Girl !There I was shopping basket in hand at my local supermarket picking up a few bits for a night in watching TV and all of a sudden I spotted her! This was my moment at last..
As a happily married man this might sound very suspicious but let me assure you that there is nothing sinister about it.
You see, this day was a special day, in fact a very special day.
Liverpool had beaten Man United that morning and I knew the SuperValu girl was a Man U supporter and for once I was able to have a little fun with her, with me being able to take the upper hand eventually. She spotted me coming, threw the eyes up to heaven and just took the teasing like any true fan!
I pick up bits and pieces in the store on a regular basis and as a result would be quite familiar with some of the staff and this girl in particular. She has a pleasant word to say to absolutely everyone from young kids to quite old customers and she always seems to be in good form, even when Man United lose to Liverpool!

The store might be a little bit more expensive than the local Dunne’s or Tesco’s, the selection probably isn’t as good but at the end of the day you just can’t beat a good atmosphere created by efficient and pleasant staff.

The SuperValu girl and all the other really good staff in stores and different businesses all around the country are worth their weight in gold, more than any marketing campaigns can hope to achieve. Campaigns are terrific at communicating what your business is all about but the proof is in the eating. Excellent staff are the best marketing of all.

…so even though we are on a bad run of results I will still bravely return, do my shopping and look forward to the chit chat with the SuperValu girl.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications