Morrisons’ lurch from message to message is not a recipe for success

Morrisons has suffered the most from the disruption caused by the rise of the discounters but is hoping to make up lost ground by focussing on a message that will be familiar to customers of its rivals: Everyday Low Prices. 

Sarah Vizard 654 400

Morrisons is getting rid of its “I’m Cheaper” marketing message launched with a fanfare just over three months ago and is following Asda by focusing on “everyday low prices”. Point of sale (PoS) now shows an arrow with a pound symbol pointing down and the phrase “everyday low prices”, and on TV.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Morrisons’ marketing director Rebecca Singleton says the change is aimed at improving ease of shop, reducing clutter and making its marketing more consistent. In a bid to improve its value proposition, Singleton says it will try and make its promotions clearer and more relevant.

There is some debate over how long price cuts take to make a difference for a supermarket, with most estimates putting it at between six and 12 months. Asda, which announced its £1bn price investment in November, is now starting to feel the effects and its first mover advantage appears to be translating into a pick-up in sales. Morrisons must be looking on in envy as analysts predict it will see only a mild improvement on its “horrendous” first quarter figures.

Lurching to a new marketing message isn’t the way to go however. Asda credited its marketing consistency for its improving outlook but that isn’t something that can be said of Morrisons’ efforts over the past few months. It launched a “Prices Nailed Down” message in January before switching to “I’m the new cheaper Morrisons” four months later.

This latest shift is apparently about communicating that the price cuts are permanent, something the previous two messages were also meant to communicate. With a line already used by one of the other big four Morrisons may find it struggles to stand out in a grocery market obsessed with low prices, particularly if Tesco fires the starting gun on an all-out price war.

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