Fast delivery brands need to deliver more distinctiveness

Post by Anne Charbonneau, Managing Partner based in Amsterdam

Zapp. Getir. Flink. Gorillas … Amsterdam,  where I live, has recently been placarded with posters of these fast delivery grocery services, all fighting for attention at the same time. Have a look at those ads below. Notice anything?

Even if you don’t speak Dutch, you’ve probably seen some of these brands in your market. All use strikingly similar message and communication; only the colours seem to change. Beyond some attempts at tagline creation by two of them, they are all pretty much saying the same thing: we deliver your shopping in minutes.

Google it and you’ll also find a whole bunch of ads with category generic headlines:

A few questions came to my mind when I looked at these ads:

  • What happened to brand strategy and positioning?
  • What happened to creativity and ideas?

Didn’t someone in those businesses say “Guys, it seems we are all running pretty much the same campaign, at the exactly same time, only in different colors… maybe we should step back and re-think.” ?!

A focus on the main category benefit is understandable. This should, in theory, help you establish leadership. But it doesn’t work well if the creative output is unremarkable and if four brands are doing that at the same time, in similar ways.  After seeing 100s of those posters, I get it: There is new proposition out there for delivery in 10 minutes. Assuming I’m interested in this proposition, the key question is: Which one should I pick? And Why?

Here a few things to remember to avoid generic strategy and commuication: 

1. Don’t rely on technical features alone

It’s OK to be passionate about your the new technolgy behind your product or service. But you still need to do your homework on how this relates to consumers. How it make life better? What problem is it really solving? How do you really add value to people’s lives. A good old competitive check is not a bad idea either!

2. Deliver distinctiveness with multiple brand properties

You don’t need to be completely different to win. But you must be DISTINCTIVE. And this is where the fast delivery brands are failing to deliver. Yes, they are making use of colour, but not much more.

The UK’s shopping comparison market give some clues on how to drive more distinctiveness. The two leading brands (1) are Compare the Market and Go Compare (see post here). Both offer to save you money by comparing services, such as insurance. But both are highly distinctive, using brand properties that cleverly ‘bake in’ the brand name (below). Annoying, maybe. But highly effective. This is critical in any online market, where the key task is to get people to type your name into the search bar. Zapp has maybe made the best start, by trying to establish its brand name as a verb, encouraging people to Zapp It

Note the importance of fresh consistency to build these brand properties. Our first post on Aleksandar the Meerkat was back in 2009 and he’s still going strong!

3. Invest time in better briefs and better briefings

This is not easy. It takes more than 10 minutes! You need to work hard to translate a category benefit in a relevant and insightful creative idea. This can include giving some ‘sizzle’ to your brand – distinctive emotional benefits, personality and values that build on and reinforce your ‘product sausage’. Some tips and advice on how to get better coming soon in part 2 of this blog.

What next? It will be interesting to see what happens which fast delivery brands players win in the next six months. I suggest the ones that work harder on creative standout to build consumer preference will have the best chances of success.

  1. Comparison site market shares: FT