Recipe for gaining larger slice of uk bread market

Allied Bakeries director of brands Will Ghali tells Laura Snoad about how the business comes up with engaging multimedia campaigns for its top selling bread lines that highlight innovation and drive growth

Will Ghali

Marketing Week (MW): How are you faring against your competitors at the moment?

Will Ghali (WG): It’s a big market with fierce competition. Our challenge is to continue to drive our core products while looking at opportunities to expand our range.

MW: What is the strategy behind the new Kingsmill masterbrand?

WG: The masterbrand thinking was essentially about trying to pull everything that we’re trying to do at Kingsmill under one umbrella. A great example of that is the packaging. We have tried to create a consistent look and feel so that when you look at any Kingsmill pack, you can see the product underneath the packaging.

MW: What’s the concept behind the Fresh Thinking from Kingsmill strapline?

WG: Fresh Thinking is a manifestation of what Kingsmill stands for. It’s historically been known as an inventive brand, with examples including Crusts Away (loaves with no crusts), Little Big Loaf (a small loaf of full-sized slices) and 50/50 (wholegrain bread that tastes like white bread).

The new strapline resonates with families, who are our main target, and has become an umbrella consumer message, which we use in all our advertising.

MW: How has your TV advertising changed to fit in with this concept?

WG: We’re now aiming to have a more consistent approach. We’re featuring the same family and have a consistent look and feel, even though each ad is supporting a different part of the brand.

We think the ads are light-hearted, engaging and demonstrate that we understand modern families. We think this approach also appeals to mums. This is one of the reasons why we’ve chosen to feature dad in the campaign.

We wanted to use our new brand message of ‘fresh thinking’ to do something new for Kingsmill. Dad had never been the hero in our advertising, so this move is all about acknowledging the fact that dads play a different role now. We also think this approach appeals to mums as well.

If we feature mum as the traditional housewife type, then it potentially alienates some people and you’re not demonstrating that you’re a modern company. You can also make more fun of dad, which allowed us to make the TV ad a little more humorous.


MW: What is the thinking behind the new Kingsmill integrated digital strategy?

WG: We launched a Facebook page in December last year. At the end of the first week we had 6,000 likes; now we’ve got up to 55,000 likes. This shows that people are interesting in having a conversation with us.

MW: How does that fit with your busy consumers?

WG: Because the interaction is quick, a lot of consumers are accessing the page through mobile and many of the comments are one-liners. We have also created two game-style apps – Tombola of Treats and Pop-up Prizes. For the latter, you have to pick the toaster that will pop first and if you are right you win a prize. The community is quite self-regulating, but if we give them stimulus, the level of engagement goes up. For example, we asked people about their most interesting sandwich recipes, and within two hours we’d received 200 comments.

MW: What innovations have you launched on the main Kingsmill website?

WG: We have developed a mobile-optimised site to reflect the way that people are now accessing the web. We’re also looking at tools and apps to make people’s lives easier. One is called Easy Escape, which gives families places to go on days out based on their postcode. We’ve got the sandwich selector app, where you put in your favourite bread and type of fillings, and it then suggests some new things to try. It’s about providing convenient things that make people’s lives a little bit easier.

MW: Are the marketing channels you use to market Allinson and Burgen similar to those for Kingsmill?

WG: The Burgen customer is happy to read lots of information and because they’ve got more time on their hands, they are ready to seek out information. We mainly attract this customer using ads in women’s magazines and the health sections of newspapers and magazines.

The Allinson consumer is interested in the brand story, which we can tell effectively in press and on Facebook. We have about 18,000 followers, and we tell them about interesting things Thomas Allinson did and historical facts. For example, we brought back a Victorian recipe for Winifred pudding using Allinson bread in conjunction with the National Trust and launched that online. We also started selling Allinson sandwiches in the National Trust cafés.

MW: Why are you sponsoring the Big Lunch community project in June?

WG: It puts us in the middle of an event that’s taking place at the heart of local communities. The phrase that the Big Lunch uses is ‘breaking bread’ – people getting together over lunch, creating dialogue and harmony within local communities. So to identify ourselves as a brand at the heart of local communities felt like a very strong fit, especially in a year where there will be a lot of national celebrations.

Allied Bakeries

The real story


Bread may be purchased by 99.8% of UK consumers, but such large quantities don’t make the market any less competitive. Indeed, Allied Bakeries director of brands Will Ghali claims that his key challenge is to produce highly engaging campaigns that highlight the innovation in its brands.

And it seems to be working for primary brand Kingsmill. Despite being the youngest and smallest of the three main branded players – alongside Warburtons and Hovis – Kingsmill increased its market share by 2% in 2011.

In January, the Associated British Foods-owned bakery invested in a new £4.6m masterbrand strategy for Kingsmill, which aims to bring consistency across its loaves, bakery products and sandwich alternatives.

But Allied Bakeries is also expanding the rest of its portfolio, mimicking some of the Kingsmill product innovation, such as half-sized loaves, for its other brands, which include Burgen, Allinson and Sunblest.

Will Ghali on different brands for different types of people

For Kingsmill, we’ve identified a group called ‘juggling pragmatists’. They’re typically families, and make up about 24% of all households. Although bread is important to them, they are busy families who are juggling lots of priorities. Our challenge is how we help to make their busy lives a little bit simpler by providing simple solutions.

For Allinson, the core group tends to be slightly older and more interested in provenance, history and brands with an interesting story to tell. We call them ‘wholesome and hearty’. They like brands with an interesting story so we talk about Thomas Allinson – the inventor of wholemeal bread – and how he had a passion for health.

Burgen has a slightly older consumer profile than that of Kingsmill, who we call ‘knowledgeably healthy’. They want to know about ingredients and health benefits. The endline we’ve been using on recent advertising is ‘Bread Shaped Health Food’, which captures the essence of Burgen – health and taste.

Sunblest consumers are called ‘safe and convenient’. These tend to be younger, and more male-biased. They like things like hot cross buns and white sliced bread so we cater to them with traditional-type products, but value is very important for them as well.

Real-time reader responses



Do you think the extreme discounting within the industry has been damaging to the Kingsmill brand?

Will Ghali (WG): No. Our key brand metrics that we measure are moving in the right direction. We were the seventh biggest brand in the UK, now we’re the sixth. There have been some significant promotions in the market, but the retailers rather than the brands drive most of these strategies. Our challenge is to grow our business profitably by offering great value and relevant innovations that resonate with the needs of our customers.



How do you nurture consumer advocacy in a market experiencing a drop in customer loyalty and driven by value?

WG: By doing stuff that’s interesting and engaging. Also by launching products that are relevant for different consumer needs so that the pull of a promotional mechanic isn’t enough to make you buy something because it is really cheap rather than a product that is perfect for your needs.





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