John Lewis in biggest revamp for 147 years

John Lewis is preparing to revamp its marketing and advertising strategy for its next phase of growth after admitting the brand could be seen as “fuddy duddy”.


The department store chain has formalised its brand guidelines and objectives for the first time in its 147-year history to clarify its brand position, update perceptions and achieve its aim of becoming the “most trusted and loved” retail brand in Britain.

John Lewis has identified four elements to its brand objectives including updating perceptions, modernising its Never Knowingly Undersold proposition, boosting multichannel operations and improving CRM.

Marketing director Craig Inglis says that the retailer needs to push itself further and get out of its comfort zone to overcome outdated perceptions.

John Lewis is also refurbishing a number of stores and accelerating the opening programme for its At Home smaller format stores to reach customers in new locations.

Inglis says: “There is a level of change occurring that hasn’t happened in the business before. We can be accused of being beige at times, so we’re trying not to be. Now we’re clear on our brand – it’s never been written down before.”

Later this year the retailer will launch a follow-up to its Never Knowingly Undersold ad campaign, which followed a woman through her life and demonstrated how John Lewis is a part of every stage.

“We need to be more polarising in our advertising. There’s probably a group of our customers that hate our recent ads, but I think that’s OK. We’ve got to challenge them.”

Inglis admits that John Lewis is “15 years behind Tesco, at least” in CRM and hopes to appoint a head of insight and CRM by September to develop its loyalty and data marketing. It is also working with Waitrose to leverage its shared customer base.

John Lewis reported a 10.6% sales rise to £8.21bn for the year ending 29 January and a 10.6% profit rise to £431m.

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