Studio Spokes

Iceland Rebrand

As I got through the door one evening, my family were watching a documentary about Iceland (the English home-grown grocery store). If you haven’t seen the set of hourly programs it’s well worth a watch. The idea behind the show is to show how high street shops are struggling through the decline of the high street, and in Iceland’s case, horse meat issues or as they put it ‘The HorseGate Scandal’.

It shows the founding owner Malcolm Walker battle through the financial year trying to improve the company’s appearance and market share.

One thing that struck me about Malcolm is that he doesn’t deals very directly with the issues, regardless of the source. If it needs looking at, he will fix it, if he doesn’t like it he will tell you. For me that is the correct way to go about business; none of this walk around the topic charade.

At the end of the day people want to succeed, it’s human nature. While Malcolm was battling the Ivory Tower, he was aided heavily by his son. His son is a store manager, and reported back to him with all the negative things that slowed the store manager’s progress, things like styling, software and paperwork. As I said, this series is well worth a watch (if only just to see the size of the man’s house at the end).

So why am I writing this?

I’m writing whilst watching this, I could see fundamental issues with Iceland’s appearance and hope Malcolm can have a team look into it, or at least glance at the issue to check the numbers.

The episode in question concerned their marketing campaign, where Malcolm basically generalised every digital marketing agency and hit the nail on the head!

I’m not going to give it away, but he mentioned a young hip guy in jeans, a young bit of totty, the geek and the suited older member. It made me laugh so much, as the agency I worked for was exactly the same; along with the several I have met trying to sell me ideas!

So, what do I think is the main issue facing Iceland in the foreseeable future? Their colour scheme… Looking at all the high street brands, online brands and basic colour schemes for companies, I have noticed a huge trend marking the success of brands.

Take social media as an example; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have the same colour shade – blue. Amazon,, Ebay and Google all have bright and exciting primary colours, but avoid deep reds and oranges.

Now, observing the high street examples such as M&S, Asda and Tesco these all use limited colours which mostly range around greens or blues. I have also noticed the large supermarket companies have a white background and the colours within their name.

Whereas the smaller companies such as Aldi, Lidl and Iceland use a heavy background colour with a contrasting text colour. Noticed the trend?

A selection of Supermarkets and Social medias.

So, as you can see blue is the colour of choice for most companies, and the lesser companies such as Wilkinson’s, Aldi and the Co-op all have backgrounds trying to create as much impact as possible.

In my eyes, it shouldn’t be about the impact it should be about a clear and interesting logo. Everyone will know of Tesco due to their market share for sure but the logo and slogan are also well known. This is due to the intense colours on a white background forcing the viewer to pay attention to what is important and not be distracted by bolder colours.

Now on a presentation note, I was watching MasterChef Professional; a criticism that Michel Roux Jr. gave to a contestant about his oversized portion of food was “Show more plate, it gives the food more presence and makes it standout more against the white of the plate, makes it more inviting and interesting”.

This approach is used in all forms of presentation to engage customers and enhance the aesthetic appeal of the product on show. Greggs use it for food advertising and even Whiskers, the cat food do.

So what would I suggest after this wordy article

I would suggest a look at the strong and bold colours of the company. I would head more toward a blue and white approach, linking with the country and its flag. For a powerful effect, you could have Iceland in blue and then a short slogan underneath; here are a couple of ideas:

Is this all?

One thing I have also noticed about the Iceland stores is the lack of lighting and cramped feel to the stores. I have only really gone into about three Iceland stores in my life, and the three I have ventured into all seem quite dull and un-inviting. The powerful red and big branding really turned me off shopping there. Whereas, other stores such as Aldi (Supermarket of the year 2013) always made me feel warm and invited. The lighting and store layouts always seem to be on the money. The mix of Point of Sale branding and font sizing didn’t make me feel to pushed to make a decision. I felt I wasn’t being overly pushed for the sale there. Perhaps Iceland could reduce the impact of their POS banners to give a warmer and friendlier buying environment that in turn would provide more returning customers. A happy customer is a returning customer.

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Adam Spokes

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • They need to ditch the red to yellow gradient, it’s so out of date it’s unreal.

    Then again changing the branding across a brand that big is no easy task, new banners and shop signs etc. Not cheap, especially in the current climate! Then again, Wilko’s did a rebrand and managed it. I remember when they had the red slanty-text logo, it was nasty.

    As for the stores, you’re right, they always feel cramped, dark and… well, cheap!

    A massive overhaul is needed for Iceland, but if they haven’t got the funds to do it…

  • I work for Iceland. The logo being red and orange I agree isn’t great, but they’re trying to connect to the original colours used. Iceland ISN’T related to the country, so blue and white wouldn’t do. However, our uniforms are black, orange, red and grey stripes (the black being the heaviest of the four). Perhaps something like that could work?

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