Most Connected Brands 2020 – Tesco (14th)

Still a UK love story

In 1919, Jack Cohen returned from war and began selling surplus groceries from a stall in the East End of London. From day one, Jack believed in putting affordable food in the reach of everybody and a few years later in 1924, the name ‘Tesco’ was born. From 1919 to 2020, Tesco has been feeding the nation and proved that it really is a ‘brand we can’t live without’.

Tesco sits at 14th in the Most Connected Brands ranking for 2020, one place ahead of 2019 and is a brand that doesn’t struggle to achieve prominence (coming seventh) or familiarity with consumers due to their massive store estate. However, whilst in the top five UK brands, Tesco still lags behind its supermarket competitors Aldi and Lidl and struggles again to make it to the top spot for supermarkets.

Within our Emotion and Dynamism metrics Tesco has done increasingly well since 2019, and though not making it into the Top 10 in either, it has increased it’s score in both by 12 and nine places respectively which is a huge feat. Looking more closely at their advertising campaigns in 2019, Tesco did especially well with its momentum, social interaction and emotional connection. Last year Tesco celebrated its 100th anniversary and increased its traditional advertising spend from £74.8 million to more than £80.8 million (remaining the biggest advertising spender in the UK grocery market in 2019). This milestone has likely been the main contributor for the increased spend from the retailer across trusted media channels. Their 2019 Christmas campaign could be a contributor of this as it celebrates Tesco’s centenary year by showing a timetravelling delivery van and its driver, who journey through the decades. The ad takes inspiration from the film Back to the Future and definitely struck an emotional chord.

Tesco’s more real-life approach with their “food love stories” campaign, which has been running for the last couple of years, has been a hit – including their most recent one during the Coronavirus lockdown. Showing normal looking people cooking and communciating through videos under lockdown, it highlights food as asymbol and means of connection. This perhaps explains why it has been such a profound campaign.

Despite Tesco’s improvement within Dynamism, Tesco falls behind both Aldi and Lidl on Distinction and Dynamism. These are two key metrics that we find challenger brands and innovators excel on, with brand Dynamism in particular a harbinger of future success. The fact that Tesco is close to average particularly on Distinction and the ability to set trends indicates a brand which could be stalling.

Saying that, consumers seem happy with the work Tesco has done to improve wider society, with the brand being rated in our Top 10 for social responsibility. Clearly the work the company has done around using certified sustainable sources across the massive range of products it offers is not going unnoticed. Furthermore, the Community Food Connection scheme, in partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare, provides free, surplus food every day to local charities and communities. The scheme is the biggest supermarket food redistribution scheme in the UK and shows what good a big brand can do.

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