Monday, 27 September 2010


When I run creative workshops there are two conditions that really make them work:-

  1. Understanding the context in which the ideas will exist – in what sort of mood will the customer be who receives news of your creative ideas
  2. Appearing to be super-active – one idea isn’t enough – you need a flurry of activity in which another good idea shines brightly
So I read about the latest news from Waitrose with pleasure .They’ve scarcely put a foot wrong since the banks went barmy in 2007 and fell in love with quantum mathematics and financial products no one understood.
Here’s their track record: the launch of Essentials, the purchase and then the brilliant development of Duchy and now the cheekiest price promotion ever.
Remember Avis? They said “we try harder” over 40 years ago in comparing themselves with market leader Hertz when like Waitrose today they were a lowly 5th.
Here’s the Waitrose game – price matching Tesco on 1000 key branded items and blasting this from the top of page 3 in the Sunday Times (great PR).
“There’s a perception that we are massively more expensive than the other supermarkets and this dispels that myth” says Mark Price Waitrose MD.
It does - at a stroke, in a marvellous piece of creative jujitsu.
Waitrose has nicer shops, much smarter staff, better quality, wider choice of quality food, a better value range, a better premium range (Duchy versus Finest – who wins?) and now price parity with “terrible Tesco” (that’s not me being pejorative that’s what a lot of shoppers call them.)
The Tesco machine will of course brush this aside and march on but it’ll sting them and Waitrose has leapfrogged those others around and above them.
Waitrose are setting an example to all other brands who are in the no-mans land of “other brands”. They have become real contenders - they are exciting, they understand the hopes and fears of middle England and are stomaching a £26M. margin hit.
Like the other success brands of this century they are saying “how can we be shapers of and players in the sort of world this is going to be? And how can we be the bringers of a flow of good news?” This is real business creativity in action.
My book on creativity “Brilliant Business Creativity” is published by Pearson – it shows techniques that help you get ideas almost as good as these.

1 comment:

Ian Wilson said...

Would that I could experience the 'wonders of Waitrose' but their presence north of the Border is so light it reminds me of the message to Scottish walkers to "take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints".