Lidl is widely seen to be at the economy end of the market, with Waitrose most often considered the most luxury of the supermarket chains in the UK. Our free market economy provides this kind of choice for consumers in the UK, but on the continent brands in this sector are far less polarised in terms of offering and I’m told supermarket snobbery does not really exist on mainland Europe.
Lidl was awarded the best food brand on Facebook earlier this year, outperforming all
other UK supermarkets in terms of Likes, engagement and customer service interactions. This win for Lidl slightly bucks the trend of social media users, who mostly wish to interact with aspirational brands which reflect positively on our own self image. I believe Lidl’s top spot is due to another marketing truism – if your brand is cool, then we will follow you.
How to become “cool”
The trajectory to reach “cool” can be mapped in almost all sectors, from food to fashion. It all starts with creative design or innovation or experimentation at a grassroots level, earning it the “edgy” reputation which means the bloggers and journalists begin to write about it, social media users are influenced and so becomes cool and eventually hits the mass market, before the next pretender to the “cool” crown steps forward. Lidl are riding this wave, becoming popular in the recent age of austerity – in 2012 Lidl was named top brand among UK students, ahead of Apple. The familiarity Brits have developed for European food, our well travelled taste buds have opened up the middle class market for this supermarket brand.
After Sally-Ann’s blog about the Lidl campaign which came in response to the Sainsbury’s 50p staff poster gaff, there was a discussion in the office about the element of snobbery in our choice of supermarket. I believe our choice of supermarket is based on a mix of factors including convenience, price and customer service, so I found it interesting that those of our team choosing Waitrose were immediately seen as snobs. Lidl customers are not at risk of looking like snobs, but Waitrose customers are widely ridiculed as such: I previously wrote about the hashtag hijack #IShopAtWaitroseBecause. Right now if you engage with Lidl via social, you will join a huge community of happy shoppers.
Commendation should be given to the social media team at Lidl for earning this position – it takes hard work to service such a large community. By running a strong social media campaign, Lidl has seized on the moment and built a huge following, bringing a whole host of benefits for the business such as reputation management, customer engagement, up-sell opportunities, customer service delivery, trustworthiness via transparency and access to social reach. Lidl has harnessed social to solidify its position in the market, adding momentum to the changing opinion from the place snobs loved to hate to their current position as top European food brand on Facebook.
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