Stop & Shop:

The empathy engine

C Space is our Empathy Agency. They are channelling our customer through our strategy, customer experience and communications – helping Stop & Shop ‘re-enter’ our markets with a fresh voice that connects with our customers and shows compassion for her challenges. Our relationship started with insight but seeing the creativity and humanity of the work they produced it made total sense to scale it above the line. I feel proud to partner with C Space as our advertising agency of record.”

Whitney Hardy SVP, CMO, Stop & Shop

The Brief:

Stop & Shop, a neighborhood grocer with over 400 stores and more than 60,000 associates, has a 100-year history of helping its customers enjoy better food and better lives.

Given the rapid changes happening in the grocery industry today, Stop & Shop wanted to stay connected with their customers in an on-going way to make sure they fully understand their needs, and continue to serve them in meaningful ways.

They also wanted to create marketing that could forge an emotional connection with their customers by partnering with them, as opposed to advertising at them. And for that reason, they eschewed traditional advertising agencies and chose C Space.

Our Approach:

Instead of adopting a traditionally expert-only led approach to their advertising strategy, S&S created an empathy engine – an always-on online community of 300 Stop & Shop customers sharing their everyday experiences. Stop & Shop customers uploaded their feedback, their photos and their stories.

We identified one key customer segment and spotlighted her as the target customer that Stop & Shop should communicate with. With S&S, we collaborated quickly and confidently, producing work that we knew would resonate with their target, because she helped create it.

The Impact:

The deep, always on partnerships with the customers in the empathy engine have inspired, informed and produced a range of marketing communications for Stop & Shop and have been the connective tissue between in-store programs and mass media. Because they are customer-driven, our marketing translates across a wide range of channels – including TV, OOH, Social Media, and in-store signage.

Insights on the changing needs of Stop & Shop customers, from both Stop & Shop’s robust research and C Space’s empathy engine, were the driving force behind large-scale changes for the brand, as Stop & Shop unveiled a fresh new look and enhanced store format in over 40 locations.

This combined effort of S&S, C Space and their shoppers has resulted in advertising generating more sales at a lower cost than traditional creative development approaches.

After 1 year of working together, the impact has already been profound: sales are on track to achieve long-term growth goals, the contribution to sales from advertising is up, and production costs are down.