State-owned Chinese retailer Lianhua Supermarkets is undergoing a complete brand refresh, with new versions of its logo, in-store signage, staff uniforms, and other design work being rolled out across the retailer’s 42 stores.
This change comes alongside the chain’s embrace of its new brand positioning based around the concept of “Togetherness”. The thought process behind that being that it is focusing on nurturing its relationships and finding solutions for its customer’s pain points. The retailer has embraced this new positioning with changes to its strategy and in-store execution – including a crucial partnership with WPP’s Superunion agency – but has also visualised it in a core brand image of an elaborate ribbon tying elements together.
Commenting on the project, Ray Lan, managing creative director at Superunion said: “Creating the Lianhua brand identity was a challenging but fun journey. The new key visual – the “ribbon” – reflects the brand positioning “togetherness” in a very smart way, endowing it with a more vivid and concrete representation. It has become a powerful visual asset of Lianhua, enriching the brand through various touchpoints, and communicating what the brand stands for to customers.”
As part of the process, Superunion conducted a series of interviews with members of Lianhua staff, in order to understand the brand more from the perspective of internal stakeholders’ and gain insights through them. Through talks with the CEO, department directors and store managers, Superunion uncovered unique aspects of the brand’s culture such as a tendency towards older, more experienced employees, the company’s reliable supply chain, it’s high coverage, and the more neighbourhood-oriented nature of its stores.
Tao Xu, CEO at Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co., Ltd said: “As a retailer based in the Yangtze River Delta, focusing on the whole Chinese market and owning multiple retailer brands, the challenge was delivering a unified brand image that maintained the flexibility and uniqueness of each brand. Superunion not only developed a comprehensive brand expression for Lianhua, but also helped us to execute the strategy and change our culture step by step. Superunion’s professional upstream creativity and empathetic approach have made the Lianhua brand compelling and impactful again.”
The rebrand seems to be a much bigger commitment for all involved rather than just giving Lianhua a modern touch with a cursory lick of paint. To get the job done right, the company has now established a cross-functional brand committee and team to provide professional brand management training and to ensure the transformation progresses smoothly.
Commenting on their partnership, Maggie Chien, client service director at Superunion, said, “Our strategic partnership with Lianhua involved the development of a completely new brand strategy and brand expression, which we are now seeing come to life in-store. The new brand brings out the core advantages of Lianhua, whilst maintaining the brand’s heritage, giving the brand a new look and a more contemporary feel. It was such a pleasure working with Lianhua, who trusted our upstream creativity process, and were willing to rethink their future growth journey. We will accompany Lianhua to continuously make great impact in the journey of brand building. ”
China’s retail industry is undergoing massive change, as digitally-driven and tech-led brands take the spotlight. In order to face this fierce competition, Lianhua felt the need to re-establish a connection with consumers and hopefully attract some new young customers. The first stage of the brand’s refresh rollout will be completed by the end of the year but the retailer is already reporting positive responses to the noticed changes.
Doreen Cheng, CMO, Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co., Ltd said, “We believe retail has the power to bring communities together. Superunion helped Lianhua build a unique brand model of “togetherness” that comes from the intersection between Lianhua’s strengths (coverage and resource) and the cultural disconnection being felt in Chinese communities. “Togetherness” will differentiate Lianhua in the competitive retail market, creating a holistic platform for the brand.”
Chairman, Asia Monica Lee,
Managing creative director Ray Lan
Senior strategy director Jolin Guan,
Account director Maggie Chien,
Senior designer Tommy Xiong,
Designer Coco Qi,
Designer Chofi Chang,
Client manager Han Lin, Senior