Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK faced a serious problem. What was once the preeminent chain of supermarkets throughout Great Britain had been surrendering market share for years, eclipsed by bigger, more modern grocery giants Tesco and Asda. For help in re-branding, re-launching, and taking on their competitors, Sainsbury’s needed serious strategic research.


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner took a fresh, out of the box approach and brought our strategic and campaign-hardened edge to the research program. We worked with Sainsbury’s to introduce a campaign mentality to their brand positioning and corporate strategy, conducting research to understand what was driving consumers to competing supermarkets. Just as in campaigns, we introduced a choice model to our consumer analysis, helping to target new audiences and steal customers from Sainsbury’s competitors. The new research helped Sainsbury’s understand consumers’ decision making processes in deciding which supermarket to buy their food from.

When it came time to re-launch the brand, our campaign experience dictated a new approach: Reassure on weaknesses and refresh your strengths. In this case, Sainsbury’s biggest weakness was not being competitive on cost; our advice was to make major and visible concessions on price, demonstrating a willingness to compete on affordability. Sainsbury’s biggest strength was a residual association with freshness; an obsession with best quality, fresh, and healthy food became the heart of the new, successful brand. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner delivered a framework for Sainsbury’s to stop the decline and start to compete successfully with other supermarkets.