Coles Finest rebrand aims to earn brand loyalty amidst cost of living crisis

Coles Finest rebrand by Hulsbosch HERO

Coles’ premium private label is aiming to earn brand loyalty by tapping into special, occasional moments.

The Coles Finest brand has been growing rapidly since its inception just over 10 years ago, becoming a verifiable treat option for customers, particularly as the cost of living crisis drives up the costs of a weekly shop.

In response, Coles has invested significantly in its premium private label, culminating in its latest rebranding project by branding and design independent, Hulsbosch.

The rebrand has seen results that are “exceeding expectations,” says Charlotte Rhodes, general manager of Coles Group owned brand, quality, and sustainable sourcing.

An Australian survey conducted in July 2023 found around 75% of respondents will switch their supermarket in order to save money. However, speaking to the growth Finest experienced despite being the most expensive of the three Coles private food ranges, Rhodes contends, “customers still want a treat, and they want to be able to indulge and enjoy something.”

“It’s growing really quickly. It’s really big,” says Rhodes. Speaking to Mediaweek, Rhodes describes what drove the supermarket’s decision to invest in further elevating the top of its tiered private range – the broadest top-tier range in Australia, according to Rhodes: a response to customer feedback, a path towards longevity, and a desire to offer a unique shopping experience.

Charlotte Rhodes, General Manager - Own Brand, Quality and Sustainable Sourcing at Coles Group

Charlotte Rhodes

“I think people will be surprised how much we talk to customers all the time about things like packaging, as well as the products,” says Rhodes. “In Australia we have a wonderfully wide choice of where you can buy food. Customers can go and shop wherever they want to shop, and we hope we give them an offer that entices them to come into our stores.”

However, one of the most powerful differentiating factors supermarkets have in their arsenal is their private ranges. For Coles, its three-pronged approach, referenced internally as “good, better, best”, also includes the midrange Coles Own brand, known for its ubiquitous red tab, as well as the entry-price point range, Simply.

Rhodes says Coles customers appreciate the tiered brand offering:“Customers like a tiered range because it helps them balance their budget, but also helps them make the right decision or the right quality for their everyday needs. That is very important.

“Customers always consistently tell us it really helps them because it helps them edit their shop.”

As Rhodes describes, Hulsbosch joined the effort to bolster brand affinity for the Coles Finest range not just to capitalise on existing growth, but to future-proof the brand, aiming to inspire customer love and loyalty.

Rhodes gives the example, “so if you fall in love with one of my favourites, which is the Finest honey, you can only get it with us.” She describes the rebranding with Hulsbosch across both the key visuals and the products themselves.

“Hulsbosch were incredible because they really listen to our customers to understand what they want, what we want,” says Rhodes. “They helped us keep what was really important to us, the real essence of what the brand really stands for.”

When it came to the visuals, Hulsbosch had the task of preserving Coles and the Finest range’s heritage and identity, while reimagining it to better resonate with the modern consumer. “We went on a wonderful creative journey with them to say, what are the pieces of the brands that really work?”

“There were key things that we didn’t want to lose,” she continues. “Our key brand assets, which is obviously the Finest logo, the Coles logo, that lovely experience, the ‘difference stamp’ we’ve got it on all the products.”

Over the course of a few months, Coles and Hulsbosch rebranded the Finest products, introducing the hallmark “band of quality,” wrapped packaging with its honeycomb motif.  Rhodes further notes the team decided to keep the black assets of the packing as a staple, but change up the food photography.

“You can start to see that coming through, and it’s really delicious, and it really pops out,” she says.

Coles Finest rebrand by Hulsbosch pizza and girasoli

Coles Finest rebrand by Hulsbosch honey


In addition to its position in the everyday affordable luxury space, one of the ways Hulsbosch and Coles have been earning brand loyalty from customers is by tapping into the market of special, occasional moments.

The recent range of Coles Finest Swiss Easter Eggs, for example, was sourced from a heritage Swiss chocolatier company which has been in existence for over 130 years. The brand also circulated a limited edition range of brioche hot cross buns, as well as a spiced fruit variety.

“They’re very special moments,” says Rhodes, “Normally when the family gets together, we want to show off a little too.”

Coles Finest rebrand by Hulsbosch Christmas Pudding

Most recently, Coles hot cross buns were featured in its ongoing Great Lengths for Quality campaign by agency Smith Street – a platform designed to champion Coles suppliers, from prawns to tomatoes, and quell the curiosity of customers. “This is another thing that’s then borne out of understanding what customers want, but also gives us an opportunity to talk about what we do as an organisation,” says Rhodes.

“And customers are fascinated about how we actually bring food to their table.”


See also: Coles and News Corp partner on national campaign to make dinner time cheaper

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