John Lewis and Waitrose launch first joint marketing campaign as they unveil rebrands

John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners are hoping the new visual identities will help reinforce their key point of difference in a challenging retail market and provide a halo effect for each brand.

John Lewis and Waitrose are running their first joint marketing campaign as they launch new visual identities to mark their rebrands to John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.

The campaign, created by adam&eveDDB and called ‘& Partners’, uses the tagline ‘For us, it’s personal’. It aims to shine a light on the stories and skills of its staff, which the retailers call partners, to illustrate what makes it different from other retail chains.

This includes a new TV and cinema ad that launches on social media this morning (4 September) and will air during The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 this evening. It tells the story of primary school children putting on a performance to Queen’s hit song Bohemian Rhapsody. It features the line ‘When you’re part of it, you put your heart into it’, designed to illustrate both retailers’ commitment to customers.

Martin George, customer director for Waitrose & Partners, says: “The story of the new TV ad is an energetic, fun way to highlight what we feel makes us so different as a business – how when you’re part of something you put your heart into it. It’s totally appropriate that some of the partners, who help us provide great service and products for our customers everyday, take such a prominent role in the campaign.”

Central to the campaign is a manifesto that will appear in print ads, be displayed in shops and feature in a film to be played in shops and online. Staff will feature in fashion, home product and food films that run on the brands’ social media channels under the hashtag #wearepartners and be responsible for sourcing products that are heroed in print ads.

Craig Inglis, John Lewis & Partners customer director, says: “Our customers tell us time and again that they love the exceptional service delivered by our partners and that that’s what makes us special in their eyes. This change to our identity puts our partners right at the heart of our brands and reinforces that difference.

“We are supporting it with our biggest ever marketing campaign outside of Christmas and introducing a new end line, ‘For us, it’s personal’, across both brands. This brings to life that because our partners jointly own this business, they go the extra mile for our customers every day. For all of us, it really is personal.”

John Lewis and Waitrose rebrand

John Lewis and Waitrose rebrand

The campaign comes as the two retailers unveil their new identities on the facades of John Lewis’s flagship shop on Oxford Street and its store at White City, as well as on the Waitrose shops in Edgware Road and Clerkenwell in London. The two retailers’ websites have also been updated with the new branding, as have selected lorries and vans, carrier bags, uniforms, trolleys, marketing activity and internal shop signs.

A full roll-out of the new identity across stores will be phased over a number of years to tie-in with refurbishment plans. The packaging of Waitrose own-label will begin in October with its Christmas and ‘Free From’ ranges and roll out across its own-label ranges over the next five years. And John Lewis has created its largest ever own-brand womenswear collection of 300 designs, which was created entirely in-house and carries the new name John Lewis & Partners.

George adds: “Our new identities bring the brands much closer together and both brands will benefit. From now on when one of us advertises there will be a halo effect for the other brand as customers recognise that ‘& Partners’ means we’re the same company and that all 85,000 of us are owners.”

As well as the campaign, both retailers are investing in their staff to enhance skills and product knowledge so they can deliver a more personal service in-store. They are creating customer service ambassador roles (charged with providing a personalised front-of-store service) and healthy-eating specialists, as well as training partners to offer concierge-style service, and equipping personal stylists with the skills to deliver fashion talks and use technology to keep in touch with customers between appointments.

The changes come as John Lewis and Waitrose react to mounting challenges on the high street. Profits at the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) fell by 22% for the year to 27 January as margins came under pressure from subdued consumer demand, political uncertainty, a weakened pound and structural changes in the retail industry.

To deal with the challenges, John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield has promised more focus on “the customer and innovation”, as well as on its partners to deliver “real value and experience for customers”.

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