Each of Igniyte’s festive blog posts will look at a brand which is an exceptional example of reputation management. In the case of Aldi, it has become a household name in the UK (along with Lidl) by revolutionising the role of the discounter. It has become a loved brand in Britain. It even now sponsors both Team GB and Paralympics GB on the world stage –despite being of Germany origin.

Aldi success

Making the brand successful has taken years and a huge amount of investment in product innovation. The firm specialises in selling own brand products with a much more concentrated range of different products in store. Physically selling, for example, two types of washing powder as opposed to the thirty plus varieties of tablets, gels, liquids (and so on) boasted by many traditional supermarkets allows the brand to stock a greater range of products in a compact environment.

Though the brand is now looking to increase its retail space due to popular demand, retail size initially played a strong role in Aldi’s success as its smart business model disrupted the status quo of increasingly large supermarkets which resembled the French-fashioned hypermarché. More recently, the British customer has shied away from both huge stores and high-value weekly shops. Many prefer lighter, cheaper shops and in turn will purchase groceries more often. A shift which has further benefitted the discounter.

Major progress

In its early days, Aldi’s smaller, out of town model equated to lower rents and lower fixed costs. This allowed for tighter margins and faster reinvestment into the business’s expansion and product development. Heavy innovation in the product arena has made the brand a fierce competitor in terms of price. In addition, it is a serial award winner which has significantly contributed to validating and reinforcing product quality.

In 2016 alone, the retailer received distinction on the international stage. The International Spirits Challenge awarded its own-label whisky (priced at just £12.99) a gold award. It was gold again for Aldi’s signature Australian white wine (just £5.99) at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. As reported in The Sun, these were just a fraction of over 40 awards the discounter received for beverages this year.

In the B2B arena, Aldi performs just as strongly. It received four medals at The Grocer Drink Awards. The leading retail title also named Aldi the ‘Grocer of the Year’ in this year’s annual Grocer Gold Awards.

The success with both the public and the wider food-bev industry show how serious a contender the brand has become. Not only does it compete with the ‘big four’ supermarkets, it considerably outshines them in terms of growth: Aldi has doubled its market share in just four years. They have created an accessible, quality “underdog brand” which appeals to a very diverse audience. it continues to synchronise this image in its marketing campaigns. This year’s Christmas ad is no different.

Kevin the Carrot

Following the story of “Kevin the Carrot”, Aldi tells a story of Christmas Eve all in rhyme as it follows Kevin’s journey from the dinner table – almost buckling under the weight of a sumptuous Christmas dinner loaded with Aldi’s signature festive favourites – and onto Santa’s sleigh.

In addition to the ad using an animated character, CGI animals and word-play, the brand’s agency (McCann UK) created a light, enjoyable story for television. This is furthered by a number of spin-offs for use on social media content. One such spin-off includes Kevin hyperventilating in excitement to watch the John Lewis ad.

Over the years, Aldi has helped to transformed the role of the discounter and broken the past assumption that cheap equates to poor quality. In turn, its marketing efforts are becoming more sophisticated to further accentuate this image to consumers. A trend which is increasingly popular among budget retailers.

Premium brand

Kevin the Carrot (in addition to #LidlSurprises and Iceland’s luxury-focused Power of Frozen campaign) shows discounters as providers of premium products for the everyday shopper. This makes them more relevant, popular and valued than ever as the retail reputation shift continues.

Image courtesy of Aldi UK

Video courtesy of Aldi UK

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