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Transformation Tuesday: Waitrose

The undisputed champion of delectable foodie filming, Waitrose reigns supreme across all its online channels. We explore its transformation through adapting its premium in-store magazine to create sublime online editorial content.

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Brand background

  • During the recession, Waitrose had to undergo a rebranding to position itself as a suitable store for everyday occasions. Through launching its hugely successful ‘Essentials’ range, Waitrose managed to innovate and compete with other supermarket’s knockdown prices while retaining its premium image.

The turning point

  • Waitrose Food magazine changed to Waitrose Kitchen in 2010, with a microsite to complement its launch. It also signed opinion leaders to encourage the site to be used as a destination for foodies – Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal, the latter of whom is still a brand ambassador.
  • Waitrose announced a ‘significant’ increase in social media budget in 2011, when it launched live Q&As with its celeb ambassadors. The communications manager claimed this was to focus ‘specifically on engagement rather than just pure promotion’. This is a theme that has continued throughout the store’s marketing campaigns. Rather than focusing on a ‘heavy sell’ approach, marketing bosses would rather build a trusted and useful brand profile.

A video posted by Waitrose (@waitrose) on

Where are they now?

  • Having always used premium photography in its magazine, Waitrose maintains the same high calibre of beautiful editorial content across all platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. Top-class art direction creates mouth-watering food inspiration, while snappy recipe videos entertain and inform in equal measure.
  • Waitrose has also maximised on the inclusive benefits of crowdsourcing content from their customers. For the Waitrose Christmas advert, customers were asked to ‘Donate their Voice’ for a charity single. A music producer then mixed the best into a choir.
  • The Food and Drink Report 2014 that Waitrose commissioned also found that social media played a huge influence on consumer choices, and continues to increase. In 2014, Waitrose saw its Twitter followers grow by three quarters and its Facebook likes increase by 50 percent.

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