Emma Botton Tesco

Marketer Of The Week

The Marketer Spreading Christmas Spirit throughout the year: Emma Botton

A good strategy isn't just for Christmas, says the Tesco group customer director

By Creative Salon

Last weekend Tesco launched its Christmas campaign - one of the last big brand retailers to get into the festive spirit.

The Tesco Christmas 'moment', however, is so much more than that. Created by BBH and EssenceMediacom, the campaign focuses on the build-up to Christmas rather than just the big day, and is part of the “longer conversation” the retailer has been having around quality and value throughout the year.

This is not the one-off Christmas special TV ad that lots of advertisers plump for at this time of year - it's a fully rounded value-led push that connects naturally with how the brand has turned up for customers across the rest of the year.

So as part of the Christmas marketing, Tesco will be launching grottos at 150 stores where families can meet Santa, write a letter, take a picture and get a small gift – all for free. There will also be a return of Tesco's Christmas markets for a fourth year, which will feature at 150 stores. The brand is treating all 300,000 of its staff to see a free movie at one of 100 Cineworld cinemas with their family, with a choice of The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Holiday or Wonka. And shoppers will have the chance to win their Christmas shop-up.

As Botton told us: “The relationship we build with our customers is for every day, not just for Christmas. That’s why it is important that the way we show up with our Christmas campaign authentically reflects our brand and is consistent with how we have been showing up all year around. For us, this means continuing the story of great prices and great quality, with a distinctive Tesco tone of voice.

"We know that value and quality have been on our customers’ minds more than ever throughout the year and will continue to influence their Christmas shopping. Christmas Communications often do a brilliant job of making people feel festive and warm, and for Tesco, we strive to bring that warmth with a wry smile, whilst we build on that longer conversation with customers rather than doing something totally different."

Time, then, to celebrate Tesco's group customer director Emma Botton - the marketer behind the value-and-quality long-term brand strategy.

Botton was promoted to group customer director from her previous role as group brand, proposition and marketing communications director in September this year, following the announcement that chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini was stepping down. Botton, who has also joined Tesco’s UK leadership team, reports into group chief commercial officer Ashwin Prasad.

Botton’s roots are in production engineering. And she previously spent 21 years at Unilever – working across roles in brand innovation, global innovation, corporate strategy, category strategy, and sales.

In a previous interview with Creative Salon, Botton talks about the success of the retailer rooted in creating a voice which has had human truth right at the heart of it. And that is precisely what Tesco's Christmas story this year has to offer - a good brand positioning that gives the sharpness of a single-minded, simple truth, but offers sufficient creative latitude that allows the brand to be relevant across occasions.

It's testament to Botton's clarity of vision, and - crucially - her rock-solid relationship with BBH and EssenceMediacom. Together, client and agencies are a lock-step team that moves seemingly effortlessly at the speed required of the country's biggest retail account, but with the creative and strategic confidence that can only come from trusted, true partnership. Heck, you even get the very clear sense that Botton's agencies enjoy working with her and are genuinely fond of her.

No wonder, then, that Botton is one of those special marketers who gets the very best out of her agency partners.


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