A Basket of Brands
Migros, the largest retailer in Switzerland, is a diversified and vertically integrated group of companies and sub-brands whose core business is in retail, with product and service offerings that cover the full range of everyday needs. It is also the country’s largest private sector employer with more than 100,000 employees. The firm’s cooperative philosophy, regional roots and commitment to economic, social and environmental responsibility are strong components of the corporate identity. They have contributed to the firm having the best reputation among Switzerland’s leading companies as well as being recognized yearly as Switzerland’s most popular brand.
Four specialized franchises, Do It + Garden (do-it-yourself store and garden center), Melectronics (consumer electronics), Micasa (furniture store), and SportXX (sports shop) had been operating independently since 2008. However, the autonomy of these businesses had not achieved the expected results. Although marketed separately, the brands were perceived as being connected to the umbrella supermarket brand Migros, without however achieving the same admirable reputation. Several questions appeared: How should the four brands be positioned in relation to Migros and to each other? Which communication architecture would allow business success? To answer these, Migros asked Vivaldi Partners to review and clarify the interdependence, role, and positioning of the four sub-brands.
Freedom within a Framework
Working closely with the different brand teams, Vivaldi Partners embarked on a five-month engagement to develop a clear internal and external positioning strategy and ensure that potential opportunities were fully realized across the four specialist markets. The team began by reviewing existing market research to better understand pain points in the customer experience as well as customers’ needs. Through analytical research and a series of workshops with the different brand teams and marketing executives, viable market opportunities for each specialty market were discussed. The workshops surfaced several overarching insights that provided clarify on how to position the four brands in their respective markets. Vivaldi Partners highlighted that brand means attitude, not only appearance, and that communicating and behaving like Migros didn’t mean having the same “look” at all touchpoints. We also flipped the perception of the franchises’ width and depth of product assortment as a weakness and on the contrary, viewed it as a strength that could satisfy the megatrend of making customers’ lives easier.
Vivaldi helped the brand teams to understand how these insights could be employed to achieve differentiation in each market. We co-created clear and ownable positionings for all four brands around the territory of “customer-centricity”. The positioning of the umbrella brand Migros served as the basis, but it was subtly adapted to fit each sub-brand’s specific context. Despite their proximity to the Migros umbrella brand, we formulated autonomous communication strategies that expressed the nuances of each sub-brand more fully through their in-store experience. To accelerate the realization of the new brand strategies, Vivaldi Partners put forth action plans to grow the sub-brands while supporting the umbrella brand and introduce new customer experience elements.
The Path to 2019
As part of the overall strategy for 2019, all four specialist market brands moved closer in their positioning to the Migros umbrella brand by adopting similar values, while diverging from the umbrella brand in terms of their communication. Internally, through different management assemblies, we found that all the brand teams felt inspired by the revised positioning and incorporated it into their daily work. Some specialist markets immediately started to operationalize their recommended action plans by refreshing their in-store image and enhancing their customer communication.
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