Food Lion brand

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

12 June 2018

Food Lion brand needs an overhaul, not an update

Who doesn’t like a good deal? In my case, I fixate on eBay, deeming myself a winner with each auction. As such, I am now the proud owner of 20-plus pocket watches, a rack of elephant-themed ties and a closet heaping with collared shirts that match the litany of hues in a mega-box of Crayola Crayons. So, sure, discount grocers like the Food Lion brand and others hold a certain appeal.

Food Lion brandI have an interest in the Food Lion brand, even with its topsy-turvy market share. (Currently, it’s up.) While I like the Food Lion deals, those deals do the brand no favors because Walmart owns low prices. The grocer just gets mired in the muck behind that retail giant and the more high-end Southern grocer Harris Teeter.

What’s more, Food Lion’s current brand (in particular, its logo and store design) gives a connotation of being cheap. And that’s not a position any brand covets.

Consider Target. It also fights a losing battle with Walmart over prices. Its “Expect More. Pay Less” is a near replica of Walmart’s “Save Money, Live Better.” (I personally like Walmart’s theme better, but it doesn’t matter. It’s the market leader playing a defensive position.) And, as I’ve mentioned before, Target stores look junky, no longer holding the idea that they are more chic than Walmart’s. Additionally, Target owns a brand with serious problems.

“Recently, Food Lion spent $178 million in renovating its stores. But those renovations were just a slightly expanded take on what it already had. It wasn’t a rebrand. It was an update.”

Food Lion brand sports similar problems

Same with the Food Lion brand. I thought it was trending in the right direction a year ago when it used its brand equity of the lion in advertising, identifying its customers as being smart. Now? I hide the logo on my shopping bags when I leave.

Recently, Food Lion spent $178 million in renovating its stores, mostly on the interior. But those renovations were just a slightly expanded take on what it already had. It wasn’t a rebrand. It was an update.

My suggestion? Conduct market research, develop a new position that completely re-imagines the Food Lion brand itself. It takes tough-minded leaders to rebrand when market share is rising.

But in the long term, the Food Lion brand must find a space that’s distant from other discount grocers. Then, it’ll be able to figure out how to remodel its logo and stores by following its brand promise.

Otherwise, Food Lion will continue to look cheap and market share will continue to yo-yo.

See more posts in the following related categories: retail branding


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