Argos on its mission to be known for more than just price

The retailer wants to build an “emotional connection” with customers through its new campaign and better leverage its relationship with Sainsbury’s to help grow its audience and change brand sentiment.

Argos is targeting busy parents with its new advertising campaign ‘You’re Good to Go’ as it looks to sit at the heart of modern family life and be talked about for more than just its products and pricing.

It marks a significant shift in positioning for the UK’s third largest online retailer, which up until now has only had a “rational connection” with consumers.

“Argos’s brand purpose is making sure customers know we’re ‘good to go’ and ready to move at the speed of their lives,” the retailer’s marketing director Gary Kibble tells Marketing Week.

“When people talk about Argos they only really have a rational connection with the brand – it tends to be around range, price or availability – so we’ve worked really hard with customers to answer the question of why Argos exists and to build that emotional connection and bring that brand purpose to life.”

The 60-second ad, developed with The&Partnership London, follows the highs and lows of a British family as they make their way from their house to a holiday campsite.

It will run across TV, digital, social, in-store, out-of-home and print – with the campaign breaking on Saturday (28 April) on TV and online.

It is the first campaign from Argos to incorporate the Sainsbury’s brand following the supermarket giant’s £1.4bn acquisition of it in 2016, with Argos stores now up and running inside 200 Sainsbury’s locations.

While there are no current plans to do any joint advertising, Kibble says there is “definitely” an opportunity for Argos to make its relationship with Sainsbury’s “more overt”.

“About 40% of customers shop in Argos and Sainsbury’s, but what we also know is that when customers know that relationship exists it has a positive halo impact about the way they feel about the brand,” Kibble explains.

“By really leveraging and overtly calling out our relationship with Sainsbury’s, it increases our [reach] to a much broader audience.”

Working together

Since Argos got rid of its most senior marketing role last summer, Kibble – who joined the business from Mothercare in June 2017 – has been running the marketing department alongside digital director Mark Steel, who both report directly to Argos CEO John Rogers.

This means Kibble is in charge of the entire marketing mix, including all digital marketing, while Steel is responsible for the site experience and ensuring as many people work their way through the on-site funnel as they possibly can.

Kibble says the arrangement “genuinely works very well”.

Kibble also works closely with Sainsbury’s marketing director and Sainsbury’s Bank’s chief customer officer – especially around planning big calendar events such as Christmas, Halloween and Easter.

“The three of us have monthly sessions to check in with what’s going on in each respective function, each of the brands, and where we think there’s an opportunity to create benefit for the customer,” he explains.

“But we respect each other’s differences.”

READ MORE: Argos launches world first campaign to talk up speed of its service

Digital transformation

Argos’s biggest opportunity right now, Kibble says, is the recent addition of Sainsbury’s womenswear range Tu to the Argos website.

It is the sixth-largest fashion brand in the UK by volume – something Kibble is hoping will also help to change brand sentiment around Argos.

“If you did a poll in the office, there wouldn’t be many customers who would think that buying clothing from Argos would be something they’d consider,” he says.

“But actually Tu brings the ability to encourage a level of reappraisal. The second objective would be reappraising the brand and what it could stand for, and people saying they would be happy to buy Tu clothing from the Argos website.”

Asked whether Argos would consider bringing on other fashion brands, Kibble says: “That’s a difficult call to make. I think we have to focus right now on making this a success. We’ve got big plans for [Tu] and we’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring we can get Tu away successfully. It’s not one I can answer now but it is one I can certainly answer in the future.”

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