Actually, you can polish a turd!

Wilkos has for years been the dowdy daughter of the British high street, toiling away as a cheap hardware store with no particular positioning and not enough real reasons to visit them regularly. Not quite posh enough to be John Lewis and a (big) step above the Poundland and super low price retailers.

The lovely Old Wilkos storefront
The lovely Old Wilkos storefront

But, when Woolworths died, Wilkos made their move.

And they have proved that you can occasionally polish a turd. The new branding created by Jupiter has given them a much more youthful new look that will have a positive effect in many ways. It feels more like an Aldi than an Argos and will hopefully deliver them the growth they deserve.

Wilkos store front - like Woolies with evolution
Wilkos store front - like Woolies with evolution

The staff must surely feel far more motivated in their new colours than the previous red/yellow cheapo combo.

The new Wilkos staff uniform
The new Wilkos staff uniform

The customers will fee less embarrassed about being seen with a WIlkos bag and with good PR could even help themselves position their purchase as ‘discerning or savvy chic’ rather than the ‘best kept secret’ on the low rent end of the high street.

They seem to have so many things right that it’s like seeing what Woolworths should have become had they evolved rather than allow themselves to curl up and wait to die. Wilkos have Pick and Mix, but it takes up a small proportion of the store and not the huge area Woolies devoted to it before their demise. Yes, it’s high margin selling sweets, but you can only shift so much of them!

And, like any really good retailer they have concentrated on value rather than price. Goods of an appropriate quality and at a sensible price.

The only downside for me is the rather horrid queuing system you have to endure in order to pay. It all looks a bit like a bad bank. Maybe they’ll do like Natwest and take the clocks out so no-one can see how long they are queuing for? or in a more positive light, perhaps the softer, more airy approach of TK Maxx or even Primark would be a better solution?

Anyway, good work Jupiter and good luck Wilkos. It takes a brave (and extremely sensible) client to implement such a radical change.

Thanks for the old Wilkos image to the lovely people of Zyra

Brylcreem needs to live its values

My 11 year old son Ted is playing Danny Zuko in a production of Grease. The house is full of tight fighting black trousers, tight fitting white t-shirt and a perfect leather jacket. So to complete the part with his hair (that he has been growing for two months) where else could I go but to Brylcreem. The haircare brand I would always associate with the era, the film and slicked back hair in general.

Brylcreem - Yours for only £1.00 at Wilko's - WHY?
Brylcreem - Yours for only £1.00 at Wilko's - WHY?

Now, if you know me, you’ll realise that haircare products are not too much of a problem for me, being rather short in the barnet department. But I like to keep abreast of what’s going on in the world of brands and advertising. I’ve seen the latest ads for the product implying an effortless life, which just ooze coolness.

But when I went to buy some of the stuff in my local Wilkos (Wilkinsons to you and me) they had it discounted to £1.00.

Why?

For what reason did they need to do that?

How would that help them build their brand that they are spending a fortune advertising?

How would that reinforce the cool, effortless brand values they are portraying?

If they needed to shift some stock, why not add some value by bundling it with another product as a trial. They had a sister product (equally disinteresting to me in that it is more bloody hair gel) at £2.79, so why not add a mini trial product of their more premium product.

Why not get me to buy some of their lovely ‘Scruffing Paste’ – Because I need help getting my hair scruffy!

Everyone loves a bargain, but it will KILL your brand if you constantly discount.

Discounting damages brands and in an article I wrote back in February, my research showed it takes seven years to recover from a discounted price.

I bought a black comb too (again, not for me i hasten to add). They could have thrown that in couldn’t they?