It’s been interesting developing the new Post Office campaign. Why is it that people love the Post Office (yes, really), but hate the big supermarkets? In an increasingly them-and-us world, Post Office seems more us than them. The banner claims it’s “our” Post Office; the People’s Post Office.
“They [the supermarkets] have a role to play in helping deprived communities to regenerate by reducing stigma, boosting community morale and bringing low-cost quality produce into the area. It’s easy to be cynical about mainstream retail chains, but they can be the game-changer for transforming perceptions within and outside rundown neighbourhoods.”
It’s a positive view – but many people think supermarkets are tax avoiding, farmers-hating monopolies that drive local businesses out of communities. The New Economics Foundation responded that supermarkets “spell the end of civic life”, and Andrew Simms, author of Tescopoly, said that supermarkets don’t help communities, but “hoover money out” of local economies.
But why are the locals so anti-Tesco? It’s about community identity. The latest Citizenship Survey shows that 77% feel they belong strongly to their neighbourhood – and this number continues to increase. Even more – 85% – feel their community is cohesive. People fear that losing their local shops means losing some local identity.
Some brands have learnt this already. As Forum For The Future puts it, corporates go local. It’s the big idea behind the Starbuck’s turnaround – to individually design each store so that no two Starbucks will look exactly alike, a big rethink for a company synonymous with corporate homogeneity.