David v Goliath - how a brand is using social media to battle a supermarket multiple

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In what appears to be a David and Goliath style encounter through  social media, Colliers Powerful Welsh Cheddar,  a strong-tasting cheese that’s part of the Fayrefield Group,  is trying to mobilise shoppers to lobby supermarket giant Sainsbury’s into re-stocking the brand following its delisting.

Collier’s  Cheddar became the first victim of a branded category range ­review by Sainsbury’s back in March.

The delisting itself came to light following an enquiry on Sainsbury’s Facebook page from a user calling themselves “Beer Kat”. Beer Kat asked about the missing cheese and Sainsbury’s responded - “Hi Beer Kat, this product has been discontinued. I’ll send a product request to our buyers to stock again.”

As the cheese is yet to be restocked, Collier’s Cheddar are now using Twitter and Facebook to get consumers to respond to the delisting by opening up the floor to their customers saying  “We’d like to hear your thoughts…your opinion counts”.

Collier’s tactics on Facebook and Twitter seem to be to get customers to comment on where they will be buying their cheese now Sainsbury’s don’t stock it (“Oh no! I only shop at Sainsbury’s beause they stock Colliers. Looks like I’ll now be a Morrisons customer”). Comments and interaction is fairly low - nothing that couldn’t be sorted out with a well-thought out engagement strategy - but statements have been quite powerful so far.

Before the rise of social media a lot of this kind of lobbying would’ve been done via letters or email protest, with the odd complaint in-store. Nowadays it seems that even smaller brands and businesses feel comfortable tackling the big guns online and in public view, hoping that word-of-mouth will spread about their cause.

At the moment is seems that Sainsbury’s don’t have too much to worry about. But this could all change depending on the way Collier’s Cheese choose to manage future engagement with their audience. If they play their cards right they could get enough impetus to make the voice of the customer an even more powerful force than a supermarket multiple.

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One Comment

  1. fran:

    I had a very similar problem with my local Safeway, they use to offer a special turkey pot roast on $5 dollar Fridays. Then it stop completely, never seen the pot roast again. I asked and asked, but no response. I went on twitter and voiced my concern, and they had it back on the cart including on $5 dollar Fridays. Thank you social media.