A brand for everyone
Building on a brand customers love
Head of Brand Marketing
What’s the thinking behind the Argos brand refresh?
The reason behind the brand refresh really was led by customers. It’s 10 years since we last refreshed the identity of the brand so 10 years, 1999, since we launched Brighter Shopping and since then our business model has changed, it’s evolved, it has become far more complex, the market place has become more complex and our customers have changed as well and what customers said to us is that our proposition, the things that they love about Argos, our convenience, our easy way of shop, all of those things are very modern and very confident but actually our look and feel needed to evolve to reflect that so they wanted a brand that felt more modern, more confident, reflecting still all the things that they want from us, so still our great value proposition but really an identity that was fit for now and fit for the future.
Why rebrand during such tough trading conditions?
A really good question, why do this now? And again customers really gave us the answer here. We asked them is this a good thing to do in the current trading climate and the feedback was absolutely yes, not only because they felt that we would still do it within our value credentials but that it gave them a real sense of commitment to our future, so unlike some of the retailers who have disappeared from the high street and questions about whether or not some others will remain. The view from customers was if we were making this commitment now, absolutely for them it was a sign that we are here to stay and we will be here for another 10 years on their retail parks and their high streets.
What are your plans for rolling the new branding out?
The new programme we’ll be able to roll out over 4 years. There are many elements within the programme that are business as usual, such as our advertising campaigns, our catalogues; all of those elements are already transitioning over. The store refurb programme will take 4 years with the plan being for us to refit between 130 and 150 stores per year so by the end of this year, by the end of 2010, we will have 150 stores in our new look and feel.
What do customers think of the new brand?
Customers are really positive about our new look and feel, what they say is it still feels like Argos and that was really important to us because we couldn’t risk anybody looking at our new logo, looking at new stores and not really recognising that this was Argos on their retail park or their high streets and so this really is evolution. We’ve retained lots of the things that feel very familiar, our logo is an evolution, we’ve retained the red, retained the blue, we’ve retained lots of things that customers recognise, we’ve just refreshed it. This is about making it more modern, more confident, more dynamic but still very warm, very friendly, very inviting, very much as a customer making it very much a brand for me.
We refreshed our brand identity at the launch of our Spring/Summer catalogue in January 2010. This introduced a simpler, cleaner and more modern look into our catalogue, website and customer communications.
Early response has been positive, with good recognition of the change in our catalogue launch advertising campaign, and we have now begun to phase in the new brand identity across the different areas of our business, such as store fascias, lorries and uniforms.
Customers want our stores to be fast, friendly and convenient, acting as a pick-up point for online reservations, with a strong self-service element alongside relevant product displays to help browsing customers with their choice.
Our store refurbishments will address these customer needs in a number of ways:
- The streamlined store layout, with clear space allocated for browsing, paying and collecting, makes the journey through store easy and quick
- ‘Quick pay’ kiosks are prominently positioned to allow self-service for card payments, and are especially valued by customers with pre-reserved items. Up to one-third of our transactions are made with cash though, and so a new trial of specially developed cash-taking kiosks will be installed in around 40 stores this year
- For customers making their choice in store, the new browser units are more comfortable and have enhanced touch screen stock checkers, which provide product pictures, information about promotions and alternatives and also allow customers to check and reserve stock in local stores
- Improved product displays for technology, homewares and toys, impulse items and most strikingly the new jewellery counters, are creating opportunities for browsing and additional sales
The whole store is designed to better serve our customers’ increasingly technology-enabled shopping journey.