Bob's Blog

This isn’t just any marketing campaign…

strawberryMarks and Spencer – or M&S as they like to be called in today’s obsessive adoption of acronyms (Tesco re-branding as ‘T’ perhaps?) or dear old Marks and Sparks in our day – are real survivors. In the early days, they were known as the Penny Bazaar - an early Pound Land, perhaps? Yet over the years, they have branded themselves to become the British retail establishment; the benchmark to which other retailers aspire.

Really, one might think, M&S have no right still to be there. Is their food that much better than any other shops? Waitrose may have something to say about that. Clothing? Do you want a list? Furnishings? Ikea are doing OK. So why are M&S still there when we’ve lost Woolies, BHS and countless others? Incredibly good marketing, that’s why.

Any professional marketer will have met business people - normally in the "small" end of the SME space, who think that branding should by done by cowboys, who think that marketing is "just advertising, and we don’t advertise", and who have a deep suspicion of anyone who tells them otherwise – that don’t recognise the importance of marketing and how it could possibly an integral business process. The retort should be "Marks and Spencer".

What Marks and Sparks have done is to embed themselves so far into the British psyche that not to shop at Marks is almost, well, unpatriotic. Brilliant. Furthermore, they have managed to market themselves so well that their customers see their shopping at Marks as something to proud of. Don’t believe it? Just ask them; any of them.

The way we think of M&S - which is the brand - is all about great marketing.