Why the Greggs’ “Who is Gregory and Gregory?” video is such a brilliant piece of brand storytelling
I decided to write this blog post after reading Sam Missingham’s fantastic piece Sell the sizzle not the sausage on the Lounge Marketing blog.
I’m sure most of you will have seen Gregg’s latest video by now, as it is pretty much going viral, but if you haven’t then here it is:
Great, right? It’s fun to watch, playful, and really makes its point. I will quite happily put my hands up and say I am one of those snobby people who would never really think of going into Greggs. And, while I’m not rushing to my local one right now, I think I will remember this video and if I’m ever at a train station, or need to grab a quick bite, and there is one around, I will consider it.
Which was, I think, their goal: to get new people through the door, without alienating their current regulars and fans, the people who come in everyday for a sausage roll.
The video is, in my opinion, a bloody genius piece of brand storytelling for one very specific reason: it’s so self-aware.
I thought about sub-titling this blog post “the importance of self-awareness in brand storytelling”. Greggs know who they are, what they offer, and how they are perceived by the general public. They know who their clients currently are, and who is currently missing out on their food. They are confident that what they offer is actually pretty good, and that more people would enjoy it if they could get over their prejudices. They really know, and understand, their own brand and value.
And have decided to have fun with it.
When we eat food from a brand, we do so with expectations as to how its going to taste, and this interferes with our judgement of it. If the same people had been given the same food from a Greggs Greggs van, then I really doubt they would have been so complimentary about it. Slapping a new “Gregory and Gregory” sign, in a slightly classier font, on-top of their original bright blue one, instantly changes how people perceive, and taste, the food that comes from it. Yet no one is eating the font!
They are showing both how powerful, and how ridiculous, branding actually is.
It doesn’t change anything about the actual product. The ingredients, the recipes, are still the same. Which, I think, is the key message here. Because outside of the short time-scale of this video, Greggs is not changing. It is not, long-term, pretending to be anything it is not. Had Greggs done a legitimate re-brand, trying to go more upmarket permanently, it would have failed massively. Brands are sticky, and all they would have done is put-off their usual customers.
Instead, rather than be ashamed of their market positioning and how they are perceived, they’ve brought it into their brand story. They’ve taken a part of their brand that wasn’t necessarily intentional and that they didn’t have control over, and intentionally made it into a selling point. They’ve taken back the narrative around their own brand.
Like I said, genius.
So what can we learn from Greggs? (there’s a question I never thought I’d ask!)
I’m a big believer that personal growth and business growth go hand-in-hand, and I really believe that in order to build your most meaningful, fulfilling and profitable business, you need to be super honest with yourself about who you really are, and what you offer. You need to know how people currently perceive you, and to be honest about whether they are right or not. You need to look at your brand from all angles in order to spot opportunities and paths of growth.
Brands are nebulous, shifting things. I do a lot of work on brand strategy, and really believe in getting super intentional about your brand, but I also know that however hard we try we never have full control over them either. The most important thing, always, is to be self-aware, and to get clear on your brand so you can direct the conversation going forward.
So hats off to Greggs. And Gregory and Gregory.
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