#MarketingExcellenceAwards spills: Why FairPrice wants to inject optimism in Singapore consumers

When it comes to grocery shopping, NTUC FairPrice is one of the first few brands that come to mind. A household name for over 40 years, FairPrice has always looked to be part of the fabric of Singaporean society. Last year when social restrictions were in place, FairPrice launched a campaign that blends the physical and digital worlds together. This allowed the brand to reach consumers, whether they are online or offline. The campaign, titled "Something Xtra for Everyone", saw FairPrice bagging the gold award for the category "Excellence In Launch" at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Marketing Excellence Awards 2020.

Now with the pandemic gradually getting under control, FairPrice is targeting a new pain point: the uncertainty of life after COVID-19. In an interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Kelvin Tan (pictured), head of customer and marketing (retail business), FairPrice Group, discusses of how consumers attitudes have shifted. As consumers in Singapore look to re-adapt to life after the pandemic, Tan (pictured right) also shares FairPrice's new campaign "Lift up Everyday", which aims to inject a spirit of collective optimism in its consumers. Tan also speaks about the key ingredients in achieving great marketing.  

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for Marketing Excellence Awards 2020. To find out more about the awards, click here.

What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?

Tan: After the rollercoaster ride of 2020, Singaporeans have entered this year with some level of cautious optimism. Consumers are now hopeful that vaccinations, the opening of borders and economic stability will render a brighter year, yet most are also realistic of the fact that a complete return to life as we knew it before COVID-19 will be one that is progressive and not quite the same as before.

How has your marketing plans shifted this year?

Tan: The pandemic has taught us the value of moments in our lives that perhaps we were previously less looking at. The small wins, the simple pleasures, the occasions we have every day for improving ours’ and others’ lives. FairPrice has always been part of the fabric of Singaporean society and we want to inspire them as they embrace this new era of realistic optimism. That’s the genesis of our latest campaign "Lift up Everyday" and its very essence.

What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?

Tan: Our entire team, especially the frontliners, have done an awesome job in supporting our customers and each other during the entire period. And while doing so, we have embraced new ways of working as well as new ways of lifting ourselves to better every moment. As Singaporeans continue to redefine their routines in 2021, FairPrice hopes to play a greater role in supporting their new priorities, whether it is about our mission of moderating the cost of living or inspiring newfound focus or discovering the possibilities inherent in every new day.

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Tan: At its best, marketing should be focused on the customer and although that has not changed, the context for our customers certainly has. The past year has ushered in a host of new priorities and concerns. Great marketing is for our customers, never at them; and the best way to do this is by listening to customers. This is where we understand both their pain points and compliments and aim to serve both by taking the middle path that promotes diversity and moderation. FairPrice has adopted an inside-out philosophy that is pivoted to our employees’ aspect of life and then using them as our success stories to help our customers make informed and balanced decisions, while also encouraging customers to take the first step towards lifting up every day.

How are you planning for 2021?

Tan: Our focus for 2021 is to embrace and encourage this new brand of optimism we are seeing among Singaporeans already. "Lift up Everyday" is a bold new expression and it is more than just a campaign. It is designed to be an inside-out approach that starts by inspiring from within our employees. At its very heart, Lift up Everyday comprises both a promise and a challenge to all Singaporeans. It promises to surprise and delight, by using ingredients in new ways to make shopping even more enjoyable. And it also challenges Singaporeans to break out of their routines with every trip to FairPrice, to try new things and embrace a spirit of collective optimism.