Recent research by Havas media group reveals that Aldi and Lidl are both viewed by British consumers as some of the country’s most ‘meaningful brands, but what has caused this shift in the UK’s perception of value and quality? By driving this change in consumer trends, Lidl and Aldi have posed a question that brands are continuously aiming to answer: how are perceptions of quality and value formed and, crucially, how can they be changed?
Lidl executed a brand campaign, reportedly costing £20 million, in 2014 that raised the brand’s profile and reputation to heights that British consumers would not have thought conceivable a few years ago. What is especially interesting is how Lidl’s clever marketing strategy impacted the middle classes, possibly without them even knowing.
By leveraging impactful marketing techniques, Lidl awakened the masses to how they may have been mistaken in their opinions of how price equates to quality. But what exactly did the discount chain do to compel shoppers to try its low-priced goods and discover the quality for themselves? Lidl introduced the #LidlSurprises campaign. This marketing drive enabled the supermarket chain to begin shifting perceptions of its economical and thrifty proposition, enticing a new genre of consumers through its doors.
One of the Lidl television advertisements was set in a farmers market and featured ‘foody’ type people enjoying a selection of tasty treats. Little did the consumers realise that the food they were eating was actually from Lidl, and they expressed their utter surprise when this was revealed to them. This is a simple concept, but it’s completely effective in terms of challenging peoples’ (mis)perceptions of the brand.
By shifting consumer perceptions of what they constitute as ‘valuable’, Lidl has positioned itself to consumers in an entirely new light. By watching their fellow consumer happily feasting on deli meats, prosecco, smoked fish, lobster, and German truffles, for half the price of what they usually pay, the discounter convinced people to pop in and try the products for themselves.
The #LidlSurprises campaign highlights the success that product sampling can have in altering consumer opinion. It shows how consumers are adaptable to new trends if they observe their peers’ positive reaction to trying a new product, encouraging them to try it for themselves. Many consumers are becoming hardened to brand messages and bold claims are often taken with a pinch of salt as a result, but feedback from a fellow consumer is more likely to resonate.
Perceptions of a brand won’t change overnight, but by slowly easing people into considering new products and new ways of thinking, brands can earn their trust and generate awareness of their offering to consumer groups they may have previously omitted from their marketing strategy. Marketers have a comprehensive set of tools they can utilise when building campaigns, but sometimes it’s the simpler techniques that are most effective. The Lidl campaign is testament to the fact that a concept as simple as sampling can be a true driving force for a brand.
By Hannah Campbell, Operations Director at The Work Perk