F&F’s strategy to get in more Tesco baskets

Clubcard, econometrics and working much more closely with the main Tesco brand form the foundations of F&F’s strategy to redefine what it means to be a supermarket fashion brand.

As the “supermarket woman” evolves, so too is Tesco-owned clothing brand F&F, which is on a mission to get itself into more Tesco baskets and out into the high street fashion sphere.

Integral to this has been aligning itself much more closely with the core Tesco brand. It now uses Tesco Clubcard data and has launched a marketing campaign to show people that the days of poorly-designed, slightly itchy supermarket clothes are “long gone”.

“It’s about creating that trolley-swerve moment,” F&F’s head of marketing, Anna Braithwaite, tells Marketing Week. “We have an incredible opportunity in Tesco and we’ve got to keep building that brand. It’s absolutely fundamental to our success, it’s got to get people to keep reappraising what we stand for and what supermarket fashion really offers.”

There is a “much bigger” focus on value this season, especially as shoppers become more cautious with their spending.

“We are definitely trying to dial up the value at the moment,” Braithwaite says. “It’s not that we’ve not talked about value before, everything we sell is value-driven. We are trying to balance the quality and value with convenience.”

Given the tough place the high street is currently in, Braithwaite believes F&F is in a strong position as a supermarket brand and “lucky to almost rely on that weekly footfall that supermarkets drive.”

The econometrics is showing if we can break our campaigns down a little bit more across the year, it is working better for us.

Anna Braithwaite, F&F

Clubcard, too, is a goldmine for F&F, with 15 million loyalty scheme members also buying from F&F. Braithwaite sees this as another advantage the brand has over many high street retailers and where F&F aligns most closely with Tesco.

The standout benefit, Braithwaite says, is the sheer amount of insight it gives about customers which allows F&F to profile and measure shoppers “more effectively”.

It also means F&F can be “a lot more efficient” with the targeting of its customers, as well as being able to reward them better based on what they’re buying and their shopping habits.

“We’re not targeting customers with things that they don’t want,” Braithwaite says. “Yes we have 15 million Clubcard shoppers but we don’t send them all emails every week, we send the right people emails we know are going to be relevant to them. It’s about being as efficient as we can and it is genuinely a benefit to the customer.”

Clubcard Plus: Tesco unveils next steps for loyalty scheme

Measuring marketing effectiveness

F&F has been paying much more attention to econometrics too, which is why it has decided to extend its autumn/winter campaign through to November, rather than just September.

“The econometrics is showing if we can break our campaigns down a little bit more across the year, it is working better for us,” Braithwaite explains. “People aren’t just buying at those key fashion moments anymore so there’s no point just having advertising at those points as well.”

In future, this will likely mean having “more frequent bursts” of marketing activity rather than just a spring/summer or autumn/winter campaign.

“What we don’t want is to just be on for three weeks of the summer,” she adds. “We’ve got to find ways, and look at budgets, to find the right channels to be on for longer periods. It might be that the channel mix changes to allow us a greater length of campaign time.”

F&F has two main agencies: Mediacom for media and ODD for creative. But Braithwaite says the three-year relationship with ODD goes much further than that and is F&F’s “all-encompassing brand agency” that delivers across all channels.

ODD is also now Marks & Spencer’s creative agency for clothing and home, with their first campaign launching at the beginning of September.

Is F&F concerned? “If we were concerned, it wouldn’t have happened,” Braithwaite says.

“It’s gone ahead with F&F’s and Tesco’s approval. We’re absolutely confident we will continue to be their main priority. Yes, it will up the competition but that can only be a good thing. If anything, it will encourage ODD to produce even better work for us.”