• Brand positioning
  • New brand development

From a format to a brand

Up and down the country, Marston’s ‘Two-for-One’ chain of pubs brought in customers attracted by its eponymous value offer: two main meals for the price of one. But this volume success came at a cost: the offer was inflexible, so applied even at peak times, and the customer base was dominated by value seekers on tight budgets, with a skew way up the age scale. Younger, more affluent customers were in a minority.

Passionbrand worked with the Marston’s team to explore coming at ‘value’ in a broader, more flexible way, and, at the same time, moving from what was just a format to a three-dimensional brand.

Research showed that ‘generosity’ was a ready emotional association for pubs, and that the concept applied not just to monetary value but across a spectrum of human and emotional qualities. Pubs are ‘big-hearted’.

A range of routes were developed and tested, with the idea of personalising generosity clearly appealing across all ages. ‘Generous George’ became the name for the pubs and value offers could now be flexible, on both food and beverage, so publicans could adjust and time them to reflect business needs. But ‘generosity’ was signalled in many other ways too, as part of the environment and personality of the pub: from the ‘talking point’ giant armchair, to the practice of ‘rounding up’ small change in the customers’ favour.

Generous George launched successfully in six former ‘Two-for-One’ pubs, bringing down the average customer age by around a decade and increasing both turnover and profit; it is being rolled out now more widely across the estate.

'Generosity' cues: bringing the Marston's 'Generous George' positioning to life for customers – a range of touchpoints, big and small, throughout the pub, to emphasise the big-hearted spirit of the brand. Like this 'oversize' armchair, which quickly became a brand talking point.