Innovate to resonate

Despite the odd bump in the road, Tesco has enjoyed a stellar century and is understandably marking it with a high-profile campaign; the launch of which coincided with strong Christmas sales figures.

Mods on mopeds, disco divas and sepia-toned shoppers highlight just how ingrained in the life of our nation the retailer has been for the past century. And the ‘Prices that take you back’ strapline links the brand’s heritage to a tangible benefit for shoppers.

A 100th birthday is undeniably worth celebrating; but heritage and price may not be what keeps Tesco at the front of the pack. The traditional ‘big four’ constantly hail their low prices, even though it’s the discounters winning on price perceptions. And with all of the ‘big four’ plus M&S, Co-op and Waitrose able to boast long histories, nostalgia alone doesn’t differentiate Tesco.

Meanwhile newer-to-market disruptors feel fresh and exciting and are winning more and more fans. Subscription services like Gousto and Hello Fresh provide new ways to shop and discounters have challenged the way own brands are perceived.

As Tesco enters its second century, playing to the pioneering spirit which saw it innovate in areas such as large formats, online, non-food and loyalty is likely to be crucial in building relevance to shoppers and retaining top spot. The brand has a commitment to innovation, as demonstrated by its latest robot delivery trial. The challenge for Tesco and its rivals will be to find ways to innovate quicker and more effectively than the rest.