Supermarkets score for both value and reputation

Stephan Shakespeare
Follow Stephan
In the highly-competitive world of supermarkets, there are two basic types of brand: those which are “cheap and cheerful”, which focus on low cost while maintaining reasonable quality; and those which cost more but make a feature of the higher quality products.

These show up very clearly in the respective average BrandIndex scores from the start of November.

Those in the first group, most notably Asda and Tesco, receive very high scores for “value”, but very low scores for “corporate reputation”. On the other end of the scale we see brands like Waitrose and Sainsbury, whose “reputation” scores outweigh consumers’ opinion of their value.

However, one supermarket is leagues ahead of the others by these measures, and proves that “good value” is not the same thing as “cheapness”.

Marks and Spencer has long been a BrandIndex star performer, but this graph makes clear how its brand dominance breaks into its constituent parts.

Not only do people have a higher regard for Marks and Spencer’s reputation than any other supermarket by a considerable margin, it is considered in the same bracket as Tesco and Asda in terms of value.

If this reputation sustains (and there is no reason to expect it should not), M & S should be able to look forward to an excellent trading period over Christmas.

Things do not look quite so positive for Waitrose. People have a high regard for it as a company – perhaps as a result of its employee-owned structure as part of the John Lewis group – but its reputation for good value is poor at +5.5.

This is a cause for concern as we enter the Christmas period still in the midst of a recession, and indicates that Waitrose’s “essential” range has failed to convince consumers that Waitrose can deliver “good value”.

Stephan Shakespeare is chief innovation officer of YouGov and blogs at