The Metamorphosis of the Pick ‘n Pay Brand
Everyone knows that Pick ‘n Pay is one of South Africa’s most-loved brands; what is less well understood is the fact that Pick ‘n Pay is also a model franchisor. Indeed, the company has established itself in smaller centres throughout South Africa through franchising.
But although Pick ‘n Pay continued to produce solid results, all was not well. The company was losing market share against its competitors, notably Woolworths Foods. We are not privy to the reasons for this but observed that fresh produce wasn’t always as fresh as it should have been, and many stores started to look a little tired.
As it turned out, management was well aware of this and decided to do something about it. They hired a leading branding company to refresh Pick ‘n Pay’s image without detracting from its proud heritage, and set R110 million aside to bring the programme to fruition.
After 18 months of conducting interviews with thousands of shoppers, analysing the results and holding hundreds of brainstorming sessions, the new corporate image was introduced to the public. Customers had told the Pick ‘n Pay team that they wanted more convenience, easier parking, better check-out points and more product consistency and the company obliged.
Currently, a complete facelift for about 400 stores is in full swing. Not surprisingly, given the enormity of the task, the programme will take another 24 months to complete. However, the company’s advertising has a fresher look already and the many new product lines that have been introduced, especially in the convenience food sector, are well received by the chain’s customers.
In addition to the network of company-owned stores, Pick n Pay (the ‘did not survive the revamp!) trades through over 180 franchised stores. Franchising will continue to play a major role in the development of the brand, and franchisees are just as excited about the corporate image revamp as corporate management and support it wholeheartedly.
One finding that emanated from the consumer surveys which is of particular interest to the franchise sector is that Pick n Pay’s customers do not distinguish between company-owned stores and franchised stores. Probably as a result of Raymond Ackerman’s standing as a champion for consumer rights, consumers trust the brand implicitly and don’t really care who owns a specific store.
Up to now, Pick n Pay’s franchised stores were identified by the by-line ‘Family Supermarket’ but management is now considering dropping it. Should consensus be reached, all stores in the network will operate as Pick n Pay in future.
Changes at Pick n Pay aren’t just cosmetic in nature. Other major moves that are either already under consideration or already at the implementation stage are the re-branding of existing Score stores to Pick n Pay. Longer trading hours and the establishment of smaller stores at strategic locations are also under consideration