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Lucky California

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Lucky California is the new name for a chain of supermarkets in the Bay Area of Northern California previously known as “Lucky” (a majority of these stores are currently still called Lucky, prior to conversions). The Lucky California’s rebrand project represents a multicultural approach to the supermarket experience, reflecting the food lifestyle and demographic makeup of this region.

Shook Kelley worked with Save Mart Supermarkets, the parent brand of Lucky, to redevelop the brand as more relevant in a highly competitive marketplace. The Strategy work led to a number of related design projects for consumers and the internal culture, including a new brand identity and a renovation prototype store in Daly City, California.

In 2006, Save Mart Supermarkets acquired more than 100 stores in California’s Bay Area from Albertson’s, instantly doubling the size of the chain. As part of the sale agreement, the stores returned to the “Lucky” banner, which had disappeared from California in the 1990s. Albertson’s departure from the market hinted at Save Mart’s competitive challenge. These traditional stores failed to take advantage of a rapidly growing food business in the region. Save Mart sought a new strategic direction for its efforts there, one that needed to differ from its approach in its Save Mart stores, mostly located in the Central Valley of California.

The brand strategy began with a recognition that multiple “Californias” exist. A deeper dive identified how Lucky could better serve the unique food culture and multicultural audience of the Bay Area. In short, Lucky California seeks to be a genuine reflection of how people eat in California, capturing the diversity of its many flavors, products and cultures. The strategy led to a wide range of inter-related recommended changes and innovations, including a new brand name, identity and store prototype, as well as internal culture tools and innovation programs. The new name, Lucky California, sets the tone for the brand’s identification with its marketplace.

Through the process of developing a new brand identity for Lucky, the new name Lucky California was created. The identity work helped set the tone for the overall brand experience. The new logomark is an abstract aerial view of a California artichoke inspired by global motifs, its petals pointing inward as a symbol of coexisting cultures. The logotype’s joined geometric letterforms visualize the same connection with a subtle tie back to the historic Lucky logo. Together, the new logo in its vibrant color palette capture the overreaching spirit and energy of various cultures and cuisines mixing together in a uniquely California way.

A genuine reflection of how people eat in California, capturing the diversity of its many flavors, products and cultures.

The prototype store represents a key site for brand reinvention, embodying the future brand vision and acting as an innovation laboratory for the organization. The store tells a story about featured fresh California products. Environmental graphics employ a more vibrant color palette that evokes a multicultural dimension for the brand. Curated, merchandised “hubs” create unique shopping experiences around specific eating occasions and unique product offerings. The “hubs” employ a visual communication system that includes information and stories about the multicultural products. Center store aisles have been re-zoned to manifest a multicultural product mix strategy, including integrating the “ethnic aisle” throughout the store and the introduction of a new Rice & Spice Market. Expanded prepared foods embody the diverse flavors of California. The conventional deli lineup has been transformed into a prepared foods destination, featuring a new menu of diverse multicultural sandwiches and salads. And a new “International Market” provides a selection of serving and cooking products, edited by the Lucky California brand.

Lucky California transforms an under-performing traditional grocer into a relevant and exciting food retail brand. The prototype store has already performed well on its own, but the deeper purpose of the store is more about creating vision, scale and innovation opportunities. As a prototype “laboratory,” the innovative thinking in this store has energized the organization. As a work in progress, Lucky California can refine its approach ahead of a roll-out implementation. And for consumers and the public, the brand has already garnered renewed attention among consumers who enjoy the experience, the fresh look and the new flavors.

How to convene at Lucky California? There are a number of different convening strategies at play, but one unique tactic involves getting rid of the so-called “ethnic aisle” and bringing together product brands in a unique way. The store’s “hubs” do something similar, but with a more focused attempt to inspire specific multicultural meal and eating occasions. Through these branded experiences, the store promotes a sense of inclusiveness for all shoppers and provides a sign of respect for all cultures. It also inspires people to meld flavors and food products in exciting ways that taste good to them. The traditional grocery store is one of those places notoriously recognized as somewhere people don’t want to be and can’t seem to relate to. As a multicultural California brand, Lucky California is all about breaking down cultural boundaries and exploring the diverse worlds of food that intersect in the Bay Area. Each of these acts help customers find a common identity with their local grocery store—these small gestures speak to big issues.

Shook Kelley worked with Save Mart Supermarkets, the parent brand of Lucky, to redevelop the brand as more relevant in a highly competitive marketplace. The Strategy work led to a number of related design projects for consumers and the internal culture, including a new brand identity and a renovation prototype store in Daly City, California.

In 2006, Save Mart Supermarkets acquired more than 100 stores in California’s Bay Area from Albertson’s, instantly doubling the size of the chain. As part of the sale agreement, the stores returned to the “Lucky” banner, which had disappeared from California in the 1990s. Albertson’s departure from the market hinted at Save Mart’s competitive challenge. These traditional stores failed to take advantage of a rapidly growing food business in the region. Save Mart sought a new strategic direction for its efforts there, one that needed to differ from its approach in its Save Mart stores, mostly located in the Central Valley of California.

The brand strategy began with a recognition that multiple “Californias” exist. A deeper dive identified how Lucky could better serve the unique food culture and multicultural audience of the Bay Area. In short, Lucky California seeks to be a genuine reflection of how people eat in California, capturing the diversity of its many flavors, products and cultures. The strategy led to a wide range of inter-related recommended changes and innovations, including a new brand name, identity and store prototype, as well as internal culture tools and innovation programs. The new name, Lucky California, sets the tone for the brand’s identification with its marketplace.

Through the process of developing a new brand identity for Lucky, the new name Lucky California was created. The identity work helped set the tone for the overall brand experience. The new logomark is an abstract aerial view of a California artichoke inspired by global motifs, its petals pointing inward as a symbol of coexisting cultures. The logotype’s joined geometric letterforms visualize the same connection with a subtle tie back to the historic Lucky logo. Together, the new logo in its vibrant color palette capture the overreaching spirit and energy of various cultures and cuisines mixing together in a uniquely California way.

A genuine reflection of how people eat in California, capturing the diversity of its many flavors, products and cultures.

The prototype store represents a key site for brand reinvention, embodying the future brand vision and acting as an innovation laboratory for the organization. The store tells a story about featured fresh California products. Environmental graphics employ a more vibrant color palette that evokes a multicultural dimension for the brand. Curated, merchandised “hubs” create unique shopping experiences around specific eating occasions and unique product offerings. The “hubs” employ a visual communication system that includes information and stories about the multicultural products. Center store aisles have been re-zoned to manifest a multicultural product mix strategy, including integrating the “ethnic aisle” throughout the store and the introduction of a new Rice & Spice Market. Expanded prepared foods embody the diverse flavors of California. The conventional deli lineup has been transformed into a prepared foods destination, featuring a new menu of diverse multicultural sandwiches and salads. And a new “International Market” provides a selection of serving and cooking products, edited by the Lucky California brand.

Lucky California transforms an under-performing traditional grocer into a relevant and exciting food retail brand. The prototype store has already performed well on its own, but the deeper purpose of the store is more about creating vision, scale and innovation opportunities. As a prototype “laboratory,” the innovative thinking in this store has energized the organization. As a work in progress, Lucky California can refine its approach ahead of a roll-out implementation. And for consumers and the public, the brand has already garnered renewed attention among consumers who enjoy the experience, the fresh look and the new flavors.

How to convene at Lucky California? There are a number of different convening strategies at play, but one unique tactic involves getting rid of the so-called “ethnic aisle” and bringing together product brands in a unique way. The store’s “hubs” do something similar, but with a more focused attempt to inspire specific multicultural meal and eating occasions. Through these branded experiences, the store promotes a sense of inclusiveness for all shoppers and provides a sign of respect for all cultures. It also inspires people to meld flavors and food products in exciting ways that taste good to them. The traditional grocery store is one of those places notoriously recognized as somewhere people don’t want to be and can’t seem to relate to. As a multicultural California brand, Lucky California is all about breaking down cultural boundaries and exploring the diverse worlds of food that intersect in the Bay Area. Each of these acts help customers find a common identity with their local grocery store—these small gestures speak to big issues.

Lucky California
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