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Tesco’s use of ‘brand shaping insights’ to take measured risks.

The supermarket giant devised a “Happiness Platform” to extract valuable insights about British life, enabling it to curate a series of “caring acts” that would benefit both the brand and its audience.

Tesco's use of 'brand shaping insights' to take measured risks.

As consumers prepared for new challenges in 2021, Tesco embarked on a mission to turn its “Every Little Helps” brand commitment into a tangible reality. The strategy involved investing in “brand-defining insights” to drive a strategy centered on brand benevolence. Although this approach might impact short-term profitability, Tesco recognized that it would ultimately lead to brand expansion over the long term.


In collaboration with agency BBH, the retailer formulated “The Helpfulness Platform” – a schedule for extracting insights from British life. The team engaged in daily social monitoring, complemented by weekly “State of the Nation” reports built on YouGov data, UK news stories, local news coverage, and Reddit subgroups. They analyzed international trends and commissioned research into the experiences post-pandemic.


The process revealed various consumer observations, ranging from empathy towards pubs impacted by mandated closures and concerns about social interactions after lockdown, to the high costs of necessities like sunscreen and worries about the well-being of pets upon returning to the office.


Armed with these valuable insights, Tesco introduced a series of “caring acts.” These initiatives encompassed campaigns that urged shoppers to support local pubs, offered a 20% discount on sunscreen, provided price reductions on hygiene essentials, and included discounts on pet toys. Despite some of these actions leading to reduced profit margins and revenue, the retailer believed that the strategy would yield positive results. As anticipated, the supermarket saw a 32.4-point increase in its net sentiment score, reaching 21%. Additionally, its communications efforts led to an 8% year-on-year growth on the YouGov BrandIndex, ultimately contributing to Tesco’s recognition and victory of the Marketing Week Award for Insight and Market Research.

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