“The news items that have been circulating is full of misinformation,” said Margaret Chabris, PR director at 7-Eleven, referring to stories discussing a New York location that is sporting a new logo and a dramatically altered interior design. “There is neither a new logo nor design that 7-Eleven is developing for its stores.” The particular store in New York City is a location where the brand is testing new concepts and products, Chabris insisted.
Word of a redesign first appeared on Brand New, part of Under Consideration, which runs a network of blogs. The article was picked up by host of business and marketing publications and quickly went viral. According to the original story, 7-Eleven developed a new logo and store design, which the company internally refers to as ‘7-Eleven Next Generation’. The New York location was reportedly the first of four or five such concept stores, according to the article, which stated that the concept would eventually roll out across all stores.
There would be considerable implications for such a rebrand in Asia. 7-Eleven is the largest convenience store chain in the region with a presence in more than 20 markets. According to market research company Euromonitor, out of the 11,500 additional convenience stores opened in Asia-Pacific between 2007 and 2012, 9,000 were outside home market Japan, with strong inroads made in South Korea, Thailand and China.
According to business publication Fast Company, which picked up the story, 7-Eleven is positioning itself as a healthy option as the store’s layout and design amplify healthier snacks and freshly made food. “7-Eleven wants to capture the millennial and female demographics as opposed to truck drivers, old ladies in housecoats, and kids on BMX bikes, who were perhaps its previous target demographic,” the snarky report said, adding that the initiative would be extended to the company’s 50,000 retail stores.
Most branding publications that carried the story agreed that there is a need for 7-Eleven to clean up its image in the US as it is currently associated with gas stations and pit-stops.
WD Partners, a customer experience expert for global food and retail brands, claimed responsibility for the rebrand in a press release that has since been pulled (cached copy available here). “With the launch of the next-gen stores, 7-Eleven is emphasizing made-to-order meals, a significant departure from the days of the roller-grill hot dogs,” the release said.
The WD team focused on updating the brand and addressing every customer touchpoint related to the shopping experience, the release continued, including retail strategies, product assortment, positioning, brand identity, store design, graphics, signage, fixture design and merchandising. The release also said that the first ‘next generation’ store was launched in July 2013 and would be followed by subsequent stores in additional cities.
“We did not even do a news release about this, nor did the publication contact us to verify the information,” Chabris said via email. “Unfortunately, the article says there will be a new look for all our stores—this is not the case—this location and design are neither a prototype nor a promise.”
Interestingly, earlier this year, 7-Eleven did rebrand its chain of stores in Sweden. It called on Stockholm-based agency BVD to amplify its green-and-orange pinstripe pattern in a new and modern way. Fast Company also has that story.
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