Kroger embarks on brand transformation campaign

Kroger's new logo retains its blue color.

The Kroger Co. announced a brand transformation campaign on Nov. 6.

The Cincinnati-based retailer, which has one of the top private brands programs in the U.S., updated its logo and debuted a new tagline — Fresh for Everyone — as part of the campaign.

Kroger had recently hinted at a major announcement during its investor conference at the New York Stock Exchange this week, but it's the brand transformation campaign that has come to the forefront.

“Kroger’s new brand launch is a unifying framework for our seamless shopping experience that is designed to deepen our connection with customers and associates today and into the future, support our business transformation, and provide an elevated creative approach,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Kroger chose Fresh for Everyone as our leading brand message because it is inclusive, clear and memorable, and supports our vision of serving America through food inspiration and uplift."

The new logo retains the primary brand color, blue, with a similar shape and movement, and the new tagline is meant to represent "Kroger's uniquely egalitarian American brand," according to the company.

Kroger is also debuting its Kroji (Kroger + emoji) animation that features a cast of characters representing the grocer's customers, associates and communities. The fun element will be featured as a component in Kroger's mass media advertising campaign, which includes retail, television and radio broadcast, digital, print, social, podcast, cinema, outdoor, TV, and music-streaming channels.

The photography and video style of the brand plans to include real fresh food, with movement placed next to the animation.

“Fresh and friendly underpin Kroger’s new brand identity, because product quality and the total customer experience — across physical and digital — are key to bringing our brand promise to life,” explained Mandy Rassi, Kroger’s vice president of marketing. “Kroger’s new brand celebrates our love of people and our love of food, cutting through the ‘sea of sameness’ that has beset grocery retail advertising for far too long. Having a more consistent and recognizable brand enables Kroger to stand out and engage our customers in an even more compelling way."

The grocer's updated logo, new tagline and animation are the brainchild of Kroger and its first creative agency of record, DDB New York, which was brought on board in July.

Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, echoed the sentiment of the new brand image Fresh for Everyone at the Investor Conference on Nov. 5, even before news of the changes were made public. 

"We believe that the food industry is special and big enough for different models to coexist — and Kroger's model will be one of them because, at Kroger, we are uniquely good at food," he said. "Kroger is food first, and we believe that no matter who you are, where you're from, how you shop or what you like to eat, everyone deserves to have fresh, affordable and easy-to-enjoy food that tastes amazing. Kroger's ability to be America's food partner is our competitive advantage."

At the conference, Kroger also revealed that the company's board of directors had approved a $1 billion share repurchase program, replacing the existing authorization that has approximately $546 million remaining. 

Just one month after reporting its Q2 financials, the grocer reiterated its confidence in the Restock Kroger initiative and reconfirmed its 2019 guidance on identical sales, adjusted operating profit, adjusted earnings per diluted share, and alternative profit streams.

Kroger’s store brands, known as Our Brands, includes popular lines such as Simple Truth, Private Selection, HemisFares and Kroger. Kroger’s Our Brands achieved more than 30% of unit sales this year, a figure that is expected to grow larger.

During the second quarter alone, Kroger’s Our Brands sales grew 3.1%. Retail and unit share growth led to the highest second-quarter share in Our Brands history. Kroger also introduced 203 new Our Brands items during the second quarter.