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Tesco Lotus Brand- Building Turnaround Story

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

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Tesco, UK’s retail outlet giant, nowadays has a major presence in Thailand under the brand name Tesco Lotus. However, this was not the case until only a few years ago. Back then Tesco Lotus was still a burgeoning business in the retail sector with more than 700 stores and a nearly 50,000 strong workforce. But those were troubled times then, as it was steadily losing customer and market share to entrenched competition. A turnaround was soon possible thanks to some ingenuous and out-of-the box thinking by brand building experts.
Out of the box thinking– Customer data is gold
Brand building began with refurbishing Tesco Lotus’s sagging image. It thought outside the box to come up with a brand promise that was different from the parent company’s UK-moorings. The brand promise of ‘every little bit helps’, which did not appeal to local Thai sensibilities, was changed. Instead the ingenuous focus was on ‘Rau Sai Jai Hun,’ which in English translates to ‘We put our heart in it for you.’ With this new promise and re-strategizing, all 700 outlets now had a common identity rather than projecting themselves as disparate entities. New standards were constituted and customers could expect uniformity in services and products across all outlets. With this re-strategy came a consistent new identity which has encouraged positive brand building. However, it has to be clearly understood that although cosmetic changes to brand policy and nomenclature proved to be the winners, there were a host of physical and infrastructural changes adopted as well.Teams of display and interior specialists worked in tandem with agencies involved in public relations and communications, as well as with department heads, to redefine the new standards for Tesco Lotus.
Will the strategy work?
While there is still a lot of work to be done by the executives at Tesco, recent sales figures seem to indicate that the company has stopped its slide and has shown a small growth in sales. Data from Kantar Worldpanel indicates that Tes co was able to hold on to its market share of 30.4 percent in UK and at the same time show a growth of 5.3 percent, which is on par with the overall market growth rate. Only time will tell if Tesco will succeed in completing a turn around and reclaim its place at the top of the table, considering the prevailing weak market sentiments and the shift in customer preference of buying over the web.
However, the move to focus on three key pillars of business, namely, ‘Customers, Community and Staff’, during their recent brand building exercise has led to Tesco Lotus turning around its fortunes. The new strategy has communicated success in all the three retail formats that Tesco Lotus currently runs. Model outlets of Express format, the Talad (or ‘market’) format, and the Hypermarket have found welcome acceptance by Thais across the nation for their high-standards of services and engagement of local community around the retail outlets. These have set the bar for Tesco Lotus management to replicate across their remaining outlets, in order to remain consistent with its brand image and connect with end-users.
‘We put out heart in it for you,’ has been a game-changer for Tesco Lotus!
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