Use the feelgood factor to make an impact

Ruth Mortimer

We Brits are a nation of brand lovers. We’re willing to economise when the economy is unpredictable but some anomalies remain. People have not stopped shopping in upmarket supermarket Waitrose; luxury goods sales are booming; and Coca-Cola continues to be the top drinks company despite anonymous, cheaper fizzy drinks being on offer elsewhere.

Tesco has picked up on Brits’ love for brands. Despite having an extensive own-brand range, this week, it has launched a charity initiative that does not bear the Tesco name, but is branded as Halo. The initiative aims to provide financial help to women’s health organisations, funded by sales of the Halo range of sanitary products. The Halo brand is owned by Tesco but in no place does it bear the Tesco name, nor is the link flagged up to shoppers.

It joins other non-Tesco-branded products such as cleaning range Naturally Powdered, Chokablok ice cream, Italian food brand Parioli and pet-food brands Lathams and Nutricat.

Charity initiatives are pretty common in the supermarket world. Morrisons runs Let’s Grow, which aims to help children discover the provenance of food. Tesco itself has the Tesco for Schools and Clubs voucher scheme, which claims to have given 440,000 pieces of useful equipment to schools last year. But all these programmes are closely associated with the retailers, rather than a product brand.

Tesco has correctly understood that associating the charity with Halo gives its sanitary products a chance to compete with other non-supermarket brands such as Always because consumers can feel they are doing something good with their money when they buy the brand. It’s a feelgood philosophy.

Tesco has understood that associating a charity with the Halo brand makes consumers feel like they are doing something good

The feelgood philosophy runs throughout the whole non-supermarket branded goods venture. Shoppers often feel better about themselves when they push the boat out and buy Chokablok ice cream rather than Tesco Soft Scoop. They can take Chokablok to their friends’ houses for dinner without looking like they are economising. It’s a way of saving money while also saving face.

Tesco is not the only company using clever psychology at the moment. Our training supplement (which will be online later today) shows that marketers from a wide variety of organisations are frequently using the psychology of influence – including creating a feelgood environment – to ensure their ideas are accepted not only externally but internally within organisations.

As Dee Dutta, chief marketing officer at online betting firm Bodog Europe and a former CMO of Sony Ericsson, puts it: “I learned those influencer skills – I wasn’t born with them and I have had to work hard to acquire them.”

So whether you use your influence to start a new product line that moves your brand into new areas or simply gets your corporate board on side, think a little about how making your customers or colleagues feel good could enhance your business. After all, it seems to be working for Tesco.

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