Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Content marketing is no longer a cool experiment for UK supermarkets

25 years ago, the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s debuted a magazine.

Even before the internet took over and made it easy for anyone to distribute content, Sainsbury’s wanted to reach customers outside of its aisles. So it created a glossy print publication that offered recipes, cooking tips, and feature articles. Eventually, other cornerstone brands like Tesco and Waitrose followed suit with their own magazines.

Since then, the supermarket industry’s approach to content has evolved dramatically. In 2012, Morrisons was the first brand to take its magazine onto the iPad. That same year, Waitrose became the first major UK grocery chain to launch a YouTube channel, which was also integrated into the company website.

In 2014, Tesco even rolled out a beauty magazine to target a more niche audience.

The driving factor for a lot of this experimentation was competition—not just with each other, but with new challengers as well. In the 1990s, German discount chains Aldi and Lidl came to the UK, focusing on store-brand products.

Today, they combine for about 11 percent of the UK grocery market, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Tesco leads with 28 percent, and Sainsbury’s is second with 16.5 percent.

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