The first Morrisons I went to is in Weybridge.  They have used a prime site in the town for a car park, supermarket and housing above, it is nearly opposite the Waitrose, possibly a more demographically accurate store than Morrisons might be perceived in prime commuter belt.  However, Morrisons knocks spots off all other supermarkets starting with the fruit and vegetables.  Beautifully laid out, superb quality and with quirks like their “wonky veg” selection.  Ten wonky avocados rejected elsewhere for their less than supermodel looks but just as delicious as a perfectly shaped one, all for the price of just two elsewhere. 

Morrisons understand food, not just because they sell it, because they don’t just sell food, they produce it too.  Morrison are vertically integrated and have their own farms producing free range eggs, vegetables and their outstanding meat, which as a researcher, in everything not just as a job, taste better than anywhere else we can buy locally.  Morrisons see themselves as a family, when people join, they are welcomed “into the family” and farmers who work on their farms say the same.  Producing food and getting it to customers is seen as a family concern and given that many of us do a “family shop” once a week the congruence with the need they meet is clear.

So why is Morrison my super brand?

I love the producer / seller aspect, and the fact that all farmers are looked after properly.  The no waste, sustainability conversation resonates with me too, but these are details, the overriding reason they are my super brand is they do all this cheerfully, with no fuss and at a much cheaper price than others who trumpet all the right noises but don’t actually deliver to the same high standard every time.

Morrisons employee with shopping bags

At Morrisons all the vegetable bags are paper, the carrier bags, if you need one are paper and when no one could buy flour, their bakers took their huge catering bags of flour and split them down in to manageable sizes themselves and sold them for 80p each.  For a committed baker this was a godsend. 

Just before lockdown, when all the supermarket went mad, we queued up at the lane which looked the shortest.  What became apparent was that this was a lane for those for whom shopping is difficult.  The person on the till was clearly carefully chosen for this role and was very engaging.  Quickly we were involved with unpacking these special customer’s shopping on to the belt and packing it at the other end.  There were no signs up to show that this was an aisle for those needing extra help, but people knew.  In part, this is because Morrisons have mastered the art of community and they do this through their people.  

Inside Morrisons Store

A quick look on LinkedIn shows the number of pilots, cabin crew and other professions who have applied for and got a role working on the shop floor at Morrisons.  Each one talks about the welcome they have received and the desire the brand has to utilise their skills, although for a pilot one assumes this is more about their organisational abilities than the need to get things to fly off the shelves.  Morrisons as a brand appears to have set out to deliver quality at a sensible price with people who are happy to be part of that journey, whatever their background.

They have a loyalty card but it is more for fun than its generous benefits, the generosity is in the store and the reward is gained every time one shops there as the prices are very fair and the range tailored to the site.  It is the only place, apart from Fortnum and Masons where I have seen barrel aged Greek feta for sale.  Their fully prepared crabs are from Cromer and are vastly better than the pasteurised variety available elsewhere. 

If like me and my fellow cook in the house, Peter, my son, you love interesting produce which is affordable, Morrisons will offer it.  You can afford to be experimental, which with no eating out options recently has meant we have produced some very good meals and felt really proud of ourselves, we could not have done this without their help, so thank you so much, Morrisons.  You have also done it with staff who do not pass on a fear of disease in their nervous behaviour, cheerfully and without fuss.   Morrison’s you would have been my brand hero without lockdown but with it, you are my brand superhero, so Dave Potts and all your team, give yourselves and your farmers a medal from us, thank you so much.

 

 

Alison Bond, Director at The Halo Works, has been researching why people do the things they do for her entire life, but more formally in the research business for the last thirty years.  She developed Halo twenty years ago, a model used in organisations to define, understand and mobilise values and core purpose among their teams.  Alison runs The Halo Works for this purpose, helping organisations and their people be the very best they can be.

She is the author of Direct Hit, the textbook on direct marketing, and the Definitive Handbook of Direct and Interactive Marketing and Customer Insight, which was commissioned by the British Market Research Society.

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