DW's Blog

Is It Time To Reimagine & Transform Your Brand?

by DW Green — February 20, 2013

“They’re beginning to get on my nerves. Who are those guys?” Butch Cassidy asked the Sundance Kid.

Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s and Walgreens recently transformed their brands. Wendy’s has passed Burger King and is number two in market share. And Walgreens is now re-inventing the drugstore experience. Why not your company? I wholeheartedly believe that every food retailer has a unique opportunity to reimagine and transform its brand and own a distinct market position. If we have learned anything from alternative formats, it’s been lost sales and the fact that retailers must be different enough from their competitors to gain an advantage. In the long run, investing resources to develop a meaningful brand is much more powerful than promotional games and gimmicks that might boost short-term sales. The Fresh Market is a great example. Once a regional niche player they are now expanding nationwide. The Fresh Market is a purpose driven brand that connects emotionally with consumers with its own blend of customer service and great food experience.

There is a great book, The Primes, by Chris McGoff, that distinguishes change from transformation. ( According to McGoff, change is about fixing or improving the past while transformation creates the future. “In change mode, the desire to improve the past directs what we do. Change is about making the system better. In transformation mode the future directs our actions. Transformation is about causing a new system to emerge. A butterfly is a transformation, not a better caterpillar.”

Change is the right path when a problem is relatively simple, and the current system needs only a tune-up. Transformation is the right path when problems are “wicked” and a completely new system is required. Whether it’s about change or transformation retailers should consider expressing their unique market position in a relevant and meaningful way. Why, because retailers that lack a meaningful identity, are just another supermarket, one where people choose to shop because the store is closest to there home.

If you find yourself struggling to compete with national and regional chains or if you find yourself trapped between low cost and high-end retailers, then transforming your brand may be a solution worth pursing.

“You just keep thinking, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.” said Sundance.

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