Segmentation, Category Dynamics, Concept Test…. for Geary’s Bakery

Objectives of research:

  • to define a winning brand strategy and proposition;
  • with which to grow the business;
  • increase its profitability;
  • promote the values and accessibility of genuine sourdough bread.

What we did:

  • shop safaris in store, accompanying and interviewing shoppers in Aldi, Coop, Sainsburys, Waitrose, to understand how shoppers perceive the category, their triggers, barriers, how they navigate and categorise bread according to occasion, price-value perceptions, affinity and attributes associated with the word ‘sourdough’;
  • co-creative workshop to develop a series of sourdough brand concepts with 1HQ;
  • those concepts were submitted to our quantitative screening drills, sentiment analysis and conjoint price evaluation, plus a complete segmentation study based on perceptions of sourdough, category imagery and usage.

Who: Consumers were grouped into segments based on bread buying habits, spend and attitudes towards bakery. We identified “investors” per bread type, who they are, how they live, where they shop, how they choose, what they know and understand about bread, what their household needs are, their purchase occasions, triggers, heuristics and biases.

What’s happened since?

Geary’s has increased its retail distribution exponentially, with incremental distribution sought and won in 4 major multiples, launched a new brand with multiple facings in each grocery chain, and at a strong price point – better for the company and consumers – making the joys of sourdough more accessible and more affordable without compromise on authenticity and quality.

Highlights of the project?

Ruth: I got to meet a brilliant master craftsman in bakery, Jason Geary, and walk the factory floor with him so that I could fully appreciate the real issues facing the company and how a greater understanding of consumers could transform its prospects for future generations. Being back on the factory floor reminded me of my days at Burtons Biscuits where, for any new product innovation or brand initiative I came up with, I could grasp the implications at every stage of the process from production to supply chain, and know that through our consumer insights, our product would fly off the shelf and into baskets.

Geary’s Bakery is a family owned business founded in the early 1900s. 4th generation baker, Jason Geary, is passionate about the craftsmanship of slow baked bread, and a master baker brimming with innovative ideas. Having invested in new state of the art production facilities, he was keen to explore his options – which way to funnel his creativity, how to democratise sourdough bread which, at the time, only Geary’s was able to produce in true slow bake fashion on a mass-market scale, and secure the company for future generations.

Ruth worked on this project in conjunction with brand agency 1HQ.

Geary’s is just one of a line of similar projects which Ruth has led in recent years, including:

  • Ajinomoto*
  • Beiersdorf*
  • Playmonster
  • Friesland Campina*
  • Clarins
  • Ravensburger
  • Costa Coffee

In association with Bridgethorne*