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Longo’s puts family standards first in repositioning

With grocers increasingly touting fresh, family-owned chain looks to stand apart

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Longo’s is moving away from fresh as a singular point of differentiation for its 32 Greater Toronto Area stores, with a new brand positioning that emphasizes the importance of family standards.

Quality, service and freshness have been core brand pillars for the family-owned company throughout its 61-year history, says vice-president of marketing Alex Green.

However, a growing number of grocery retailers are now trying to occupy those spaces – and fresh in particular – as they look to grow share in a highly competitive market.

“Fresh has become increasingly commoditized,” says Green. “We’re absolutely going to lean on fresh, and it will still be a core pillar, but we’re shifting away to a story built around the idea that family standards are the highest standards. We’re on a mission to put them at the heart of everything we do.”

longos-ooo-retail-aaa-beef-smlThe repositioning is being accompanied by a series of design changes encompassing everything from Longo’s quarterly Experience magazine and its weekly flyer to its social media channels and digital in-store signage. It will eventually grow to include packaging for its approximately 1,500 private label products, says Green.

The repositioning is a response both to increased competitiveness in grocery retail, and Longo’s continued expansion beyond its Toronto roots, with new store openings in both Ajax and Guelph this year.

Read: Longo’s opens new location in Ajax, Ont.

Internal surveys across a variety of customer segments found people are increasingly unwilling to compromise when it comes to the standards they have for their family, particularly around food.

“A lot of shoppers feel like corporations aren’t necessarily always making decisions that are in their best interest,” says Green. “At times they’re more driven by profit than principles. We’re driven by serving products that we would be comfortable serving our own family.”

experience-cheese-smlLongo’s has traditionally utilized the tagline “A fresh tradition,” but will de-emphasize that positioning as it is slowly shifts to the new “family standards are the highest standards” approach.

The repositioning was developed by the new Toronto agency Conflict, whose principals Jason Last and Niall Kelly were previously with John St., the agency behind this year’s “Get the frill out of your bill” positioning for No Frills banner, and the “Crave more” positioning for the President’s Choice brand.

Green says Longo’s is “very well established” with older shoppers, but has a significant opportunity to drive engagement with younger millennial families who value ideals like family standards.

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