Brands must stay true to core values

I was disappointed to see that John Lewis intends to pump more money into its ‘price match’ (MW last week). The Never Knowingly Undersold slogan should be more than just about price.

John Lewis marketing director Craig Inglis says it is “rooted in the brand”, and it is admirable that he is willing to stick to his convictions despite the short-term hit on profit.

However, the commitment should remain an example of how values, rather than just value, can help brands gain a competitive advantage. John Lewis is one of the few remaining retail brands that has a deep-seated belief at its core, and one that it sticks to whole-heartedly. It would be a crying shame if standards, product quality and brand beliefs slip as a result of these price wars.

Steven Dodds
Planning partner, United

Krispy Kreme’s 26% rise in revenue is a great example of a brand bucking recessionary trends (MW 8 March).

In theory, this is one brand that should not be doing well. Its success is down to maintaining its premium price when wallets are squeezed, making it the envy of every brand on constant promotion. The brand has managed to do this by staying true to its core values and playing to the less obvious trend, kick-started in part by the recession, of belonging.

Its doughnuts-by-the dozen and charity fundraising packs appeal to our heightened need for sharing and community – simple signals that we’re all in this together and that we’ve reassessed our priorities. The inherent indulgence and decadence of the doughnuts make them the obvious treat in gloomy times.

Krispy Kreme products lift our spirits and the latest advertising campaign celebrates the reward they symbolise and our need for recognition, especially in a more demanding workplace.

Not all brands need to have a knee-jerk reaction to financial pressures. The desire for treat, reward and recognition can be even stronger when times are tough.

Sarah Buckle
Client services director
Leapfrog Research and Planning

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