Lianhua Supermarket Brand Refresh

As a key brand within Bailian Group, China’s largest state-owned commercial distribution industry group, Lianhua is one of China’s oldest and most storied supermarket brands. From the opening of its first store 28 years ago, Lianhua has blossomed from a local Yangtze River Delta player to a leading nationwide chain supermarket operator. As of 31 December 2018, Lianhua and its subsidiaries operated a total of 3,371 outlets in 21 province and municipalities across the nation.
The year 2018 represented a seismic shift within the supermarket sector. New technologies, new competitors, the rush towards “new retail” have been disrupting the industry. Lianhua was struck hard by the confluence of market trends. Stores were being closed nationwide, resulting in a year-over-year loss of 170 stores and RMB 259 million in revenue. Its market perception didn’t help – Lianhua was perceived as an old brand for old people.
Following these challenges on both revenue and scale, Lianhua set up a marketing department for the first time in its 28 year history. We were brought in right after, with the task of creating a strategic positioning and brand assets that would both root the brand in its long-held heritage, and empower future development.

Planning & Execution

We identified the idea of “togetherness” as Lianhua’s brand positioning, supported by a new tagline – “Live a Good Life”. Through consumer research, we found that people nowadays are fearful of disconnection in China’s fast-moving, overwhelmingly dense information society. Although technology can make human life more convenient, it can diminish real human-to-human connections, as well as distorting how humans relate to things and spaces. No matter how technology evolves, and how it diversifies products and redefines shopping spaces and experiences, retailers still need to meet the basic human need – people want to buy carefully selected products, in a comfortable and welcoming space.
Years of development has given Lianhua many capabilities to deliver upon “togetherness” - experienced employees full of life wisdom, reliable supply chains, government support and stores that cover many neighborhoods. Moreover, Lianhua has a number of stores that are designed with community-bonding at its core – with plans to scale these types of stores in the near future.

Effectiveness / Results

Featuring Lianhua’s iconic visual elements, we developed the super graphic that is unique to Lianhua– 3T ribbons, each represents a different status in a relationship: Togetherness (the beginning of a relationship), Transportation (emotional exchange of communication), Transformation (various experiences and development).
We took inspiration from the logo, two end-points that reach out to each other. We closed the gap to convey the big idea of “togetherness”. Compared with mascots like many other retailers created, 3T ribbons possess more possibilities for application. The 3T ribbons are able to be extended across all sorts of touch-points throughout the consumer journey, bringing these touch-points together to deliver upon Lianhua’s evolved brand promise

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