Waitrose wins at DBA Awards

18 February 2011

LONDON: Waitrose, the UK supermarket chain, has taken the Grand Prix at this year's DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, for its "essential" own-label range.

A total of 14 Golds, 23 Silvers and 21 Bronzes were handed out by the Design Business Association this year.

The awards aim to recognise the role top-quality design plays in encouraging growth.

Along with the Grand Prix case study, all of the Gold Award-winning submissions can be accessed on Warc here. Entries receiving Silver and Bronze will be made available shortly.

In winning the major prize, "essential Waitrose" demonstrated that the line had generated sales of £500m ($808m; €594m) in its first year alone.

This range of lower-cost staple goods now encompasses 1,400 items.

Waitrose essential marked both the rejuvenation and extension of the company's existing in-house offerings under a new brand.

Rolled out when the economic downturn reached a peak, the revised packaging was a distinctive, fresh white colour, making it easy to identify against other lines on the shelves.

It maintained the premium feel generally associated with the firm.

But essential also promised reasonable prices - an increasingly important consideration with the recession impacting spending habits.

Around three-quarters of consumers have bought one of these lines, and, upon launch, "essential Waitrose" attracted over 400,000 additional people to branches each week.

Other Gold winners included fast-food chain KFC, praised for transforming its in-store menuboard, which displays the various meal options available, in partnership with agency Design Bridge.

Having added value, snacking and beverage ranges to its selection since the menuboard last received close attention, resulting in a somewhat cluttered layout.

Research proved the primary driver of purchase decisions was not KFC's current categorisation - Twisted, Boxmeal, Classic and Dinner Time - but who customers were buying for.

As such, it was decided to divide the menu into "meals", "snacks" and "sharing", alongside creating a standardised panel for promotions.

Analysis revealed a previous trend of consumers trading down from burgers quickly began to moderate, while customer experience scores, and awareness levels concerning special offers, also rose.

Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer, the high-street retailer, took Gold having attempted to broaden the appeal of its M&S Cafés to a wider demographic.

The 15% of the M&S audience regularly visiting its Cafés accounted for 50% of the firm's store revenue, and spend three times more than the norm.

But Café sales had started to slow by 2008, not least because the recession was causing many shoppers to rethink even the smallest indulgence.

In response, Marks & Spencer allied with KIWI&POM, reviewing the products sold and equipment used.

This yielded a strategic shift in focus from "coffee to cake", a redesign inspired by the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and a rigorous employee training programme.

Sales climbed 26.4% in refitted sites, while ROI, mystery shopper and staff satisfaction scores similarly improved.

Data sourced from the Design Business Association; additional content by Warc staff