Over the last few years Lidl have realised that their original marketing plan of posting leaflets, highlighting their fantastically low prices, does not work. Instead of encouraging potential customers to enter the shop and make purchases, it actually highlighted the cheap prices of the products and alienated customers. To be successful Lidl had to change their focus to become more customer centric. They did this by launching the #lidlsurprises campaign which managed to change Lidl’s brand image by challenging customer’s perceptions and prejudices.
By using a hashtag across all their advertising and social media Lidl encouraged engagement and were able to successfully track the progress of the campaign. The aim of the campaign was to show that low cost doesn't always mean low quality. Lidl stopped telling everyone how good their products were and instead got the customers to provide the marketing material for them by tweeting their thoughts. They actively encourage tweets about the products and in store experience; this creates powerful user-generated content which is seen as more valid and truthful than traditional advertising methods. Social media has also been used to provide customer service quickly, Lidl have even used peoples tweets about how much they love a specific product as signs in store.
Back in September 2013 Lidl secretly put together a pop-up restaurant in Stockholm. The restaurant was launched at the end of September and was open for service for 3 weeks. Before the opening there was so much media coverage for this restaurant that the opening night was sold out in 29 minutes. This PR stunt was to change consumer’s views of Lidl as providing “cheap food” for “cheap prices”. When it was revealed that every ingredient used in the restaurant was from Lidl it caused a stir across the press and the internet, the campaign created engagement and everyone was tweeting about it and wanted to know how good it really was from those who had attended.
By using these specific public relations tools Lidl have achieved a number of things; they were able to successfully surprise their customers (and potential customers) in an interactive and truthful way. Prejudices have been shaken and Lidl have improved their market share to now dominate 4.7% of the market. By using the hashtags on every level of the advertising and marketing; Lidl have been able to change customer perceptions by using peoples personal experiences as their own marketing material, this also breeds trust in potential customers can see the good reviews they are reading are written by real people rather than Lidl’s marketing department.
Bravo Lidl, bravo!