5 things you need to know this week

Over the last seven days M&S launched its new loyalty card, Tesco rolled out its “Brand Guarantee” and Volkswagen’s first marketing push aimed at rebuilding consumer trust hit the national newspapers.

1. M&S’s new loyalty card aims to reignite its fashion business

This week saw M&S officially unveil its new Sparks loyalty card – and with flagging sales and shareholders criticising its “outdated” clothing ranges, there’s a lot riding on it.

The brand’s executive director of marketing Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne told Marketing Week that the member’s club initiative will create “extraordinary results” for both its food and fashion sales.

The plastic Sparks card, which will roll out nationally on 22 October, works by giving shoppers 10 sparks – a special non-monetary currency – for every purchase as well as for every £1 spent.

Customers will also be empowered to write reviews whether negative or positive, with the promise of a 25 sparks reward. They will also get previews of upcoming clothing ranges.

Bousquet-Chavanne believes consumers are tiring of the current line up of loyalty schemes and says Sparks is a “ground-breaking step change”. He is keen to establish Sparks as a “new relationship model” rather than a “generic” loyalty card.

2. Tesco’s launches its first brand campaign with BBH to push new ‘brand guarantee’ scheme

tesco mainy copy 34

Tesco has been repeatedly making the headlines this week. Besides refreshing its iconic ‘Every Little Helps’ slogan with two new TV ads, it also announced its “Brand Guarantee” programme.

With the “Brand Guarantee”, Tesco becomes the first UK supermarket to offer an immediate price match at the tills. Tesco’s chief customer officer Robin Terrell told Marketing Week that the business is excited about its potential and how moving away from vouchers could impact other parts of the business.

“We know that half of the UK population doesn’t redeem these paper vouchers because they lose them or forget them, so this is a big step forward for the market,” he said.

The ad campaign launches on Sunday (18 October) and features actors Ruth Jones and Ben Miller as a family going around their weekly shop.

3. Leon appoints its first marketing director as it makes marketing a priority

Leon restaurant

Leon has appointed Kirsty Saddler as its first ever brand and marketing director and she is on a mission to make its marketing ‘as pioneering as its proposition’.

Leon was founded in 2004 with the aim of making it possible for everyone to eat healthy food and was the first to display nutritional symbols on its menus. Its proposition has proven successful so far, as the company reported a like-for-like sales increase of 22% in 2014 and an operating profit of £1.9m.

The fast food chain hopes to double in size next year, which it aims to do by pushing its marketing more heavily – something the brand hasn’t prioritised before.

“The brand is a pioneer when it comes to its proposition and its business model, but not yet with its marketing. That for me is a huge opportunity,” Saddler told Marketing Week.

4. Volkswagen attempts brand rebuild with marketing push

Volkswagen Polo GTI

After having the most disastrous couple of weeks after it was revealed Volkswagen fixed its emission tests, it seems the brand has now gone on a marketing offensive by placing numerous newspaper ads aimed at reassuring customers.

The ad headline states: “We have broken the most important part in our vehicles: your trust”. The ad appeared over the weekend in most of the national broadsheets.

It goes on to say that Volkswagen’s main priority is to win back trust with actions rather than words.

According to YouGov’s Brand Index figures, Volkswagen’s overall index, which includes measurements like reputation, value and satisfaction, has dropped 32 points over the past month, placing the brand at the bottom of a list of 34 competitors. It used to hold the top spot.

5. Coke Life rings in its first year with £28.9m in sales

Coca Cola Life sales continue to grow

Coke Life and its sprightly green branding was brought into the UK market just over a year ago. While figures suggest that it has built up a core group of loyal buyers, questions remain over whether Coca-Cola’s “one brand strategy” has had a negative impact on sales.

Sales figures from IRI show that since the introduction of the new product in August 2014, the Life brand has grown into a £28.9m business.

Bobby Brittain, Coca-Cola’s UK marketing director, told Marketing Week: “We’re very pleased with the performance of Coca-Cola Life.

“Consistent with our strategy, we launched the variant to increase the choice we offer customers, shoppers and consumers and it is encouraging to see that Kantar data continues to show in the first year that over half of the volume switched into Life has come from regular carbonated soft drinks.”

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