Marks and Spencer have been fighting back over the last few years with their strong campaign that says “its not just a thingy, its an M&S thingy” and it has felt like its been working. I only say this, because a brand essence has been really embedded when you hear kids and adults alike using the expression in everyday conversation.
Now M&S have been trying to help us in these recessionary times by reducing te price of the ‘Dine IN’ menu from £15 to £10.
But I have often argued on here and in other places that it will only work if the product your are peddling is actually as good as you promise.
Father’s Day yesterday and after a nice walk, what could be nicer than popping into our local M&S for their ‘Dine in for £10 deal’? Great idea but incredibly bland (at best and horrid at worst) food and that for me, is the start of the decline for the whole of the M&S brand.
We decided to start with the Beef Roulade.
mmmm Sounds nice.
It’s not a normal Beef Roulade remember, its an M&S beef roulades filled with spinach and Buffalo ricotta, served in a sweet vine ripened tomato sauce. (random capitalisation followed exactly from the packaging).
Unfortunately it wasn’t nice. It was pretty horrible and had the texture of a rolled up beefburger with some tangy cheesy peas stuffed up the middle of it.
The pudding was fine, the wine was fine and even the new potatoes were fine. But that’s it, they were just fine.
Fine is just not good enough. Fine is failing. Fine is forgettable and fine is feeling like I won’t bother next time.
To maintain or even grow a brand you have to do brilliant stuff, over and over again.
In the paraphrased words of Tony Parsons from his book Man and Wife, you have to allow your customers to fall in love over and over again.
When you make brand promises as big as M&S have been making, you have to not only wine and dine them, you have to be the perfect date, who brings flowers to you, says nice things to the future in laws and remembers all the little brothers and sisters birthdays. You have to be perfect. Not fine. Perfect.
My dine in for £10 meal was far from perfect. The main course wasn’t even fine.
It wasn’t just a meal and it wasn’t just an M&S meal, it was an entirely forgettable M&S meal.