sausage rolls

The secret to Greggs success

What makes Greggs Award-winning?

Greggs is a brand known to many but hasn’t always been the choice of those seeking anything other than a sausage roll or a sticky bun.  This is something which is definitely changing though, and their transformational success has led to them winning the Marketing Week Masters – Brand of the Year in an awards ceremony held earlier this month.


Greggs have never suffered from lack of awareness when it comes to the brand – in fact in a recent survey one in five people recalled seeing an ad for the company in the previous two week period. The challenge they have faced, however, is consideration.  That is to say that many people didn’t see them as a brand which they would consider, most probably due to their association with the sale of what could be deemed ‘unhealthier’ bakery goods.

What is behind the Greggs turnaround?

CEO Roger Whitehead saw that something had to change in 2013 when they were faced with a colossal 30% drop in turnover.  It was a point at which drastic action was needed to secure the future of the business and he responded in a number of ways;

    1. He was adamant that they had to change the perception of the brand whilst not destroying the awareness which their core bakery products brought to the party
    2. He was determined to create a reputation for being more than just bakery goods, challenging markets with which they would previously never have been associated
    3. He questioned the function of Marketing within the business and, rather than simply increasing budget, gave them a bigger role in the future strategy
    4. He brought in a new Marketing Director to cover the ‘skills gap’ within the company, bringing experience in customer marketing and insight (perhaps the biggest factors in the phenomenal success of the vegan sausage roll?)

And the result?

Well, apart from being award-winning, Greggs is now the number two brand in the UK for breakfast, number three for the highly-contested category of coffee and they have overtaken Tesco for lunchtime sandwiches.  They are well on the way on their desired path to changing the perception of the brand – moving from bakery only to the wider category of ‘food on the go’.

It’s perhaps, therefore, hardly surprising that they have also increased sales by more than 12% year on year and have shown pre-tax profits which follow this same positive upward trajectory.

Looking to the future…

Greggs have shown that they have the ability to take a good hard look at their business and implement the necessary changes to turn things around.  They now seem to not only understand their own market, but also the aspirational markets they have within their sights.  Their introduction and very public launch of the vegan sausage roll also showed their ability to harness current trends and this insight looks to continue with their consideration of Click and Collect, Delivery and Electronic Kiosk options for the future.

Our take from this

This turnaround success to us illustrates what can happen when a brand takes a step back and really looks at where they sit in the landscape.  This was perhaps an easy step for Greggs to take because they were at a point where something had to be done, but they still showed great foresight in considering where they fell short, rather than simply doing more of what they knew they could do well.  This is all about understanding your brand, your market and your client base, but more than this it is about having the courage to make the necessary changes within your operation and move away from ‘business as usual’.

If you would like some help in getting to know more about your own audience and guidance on how better to engage with them then visit us at https://www.rdz-pr.co.uk/.  We specialise in working with ambitious businesses and those who have a passion to grow, creating their very own success stories.

Posted in

Rachel Hargrave

Rachel has over 30 years of local, regional, national and international communications experience and expertise across a wide variety of clients including FTSE 100 companies, SMEs, micro businesses and start-ups. She also has extensive charity, Not-For-Profit and Community Interest Company experience and happily offers clients working in these areas a 50% discount on all RDZ PR rates.

No risk with a FREE initial 45 minute consultation

To find out exactly how we can help you achieve your ambitious goals get in touch with us today. Our initial meeting is completely FREE and we promise you’ll leave with three brand new ideas that you can take away and implement immediately.

For your FREE consultation simply pick up the phone and call us today on:

What Our Clients Say...

Sangeeta Patel, Joint CEO, Reaching People

Rachel provided us with a day of free support in association with the LLEP programme. Despite it being ‘free’ Rachels support was professional and dedicated. We received a full day of practical support including a discussion to fully understand our organisation, an assessment of our need, the production of a communications and marketing plan that was realistic, manageable and practical aimed at helping us move ahead on the communications front and, ultimately, with our organisational objectives. Rachel achieved so much in the time she had including writing and issuing a press release that appeared in the Leicester Mercury, wording for our website homepage and a letter to go with our membership pack. She also shared her hints and tips about social media, her press contacts and she connected me with a potential Reaching People member! In all it was an invaluable experience. Thank you, Rachel for giving up your time to help us.

Heather Johnson, Botanical Artist & Stationery Designer

I went on one of Rachel’s introduction to PR workshops and it was fantastic. She covered absolutely everything, explained it all in an understandable way and didn’t try to sell anything. She gave as much information as possible, answered all questions and she was just lovely. I would highly recommend Rachel for anything to do with PR and won’t hesitate to use her services in the future.

Ravi Summan

I was introduced to Rachel by an executive coach. My requirements were to provide quality, simple to understand content to engage with my target market and generate new customer enquiries in health and wellbeing. From my first discussion with Rachel, it was clear that she had the skills and empathy to provide a service to support the growth of my business. Rachel’s content writing and editing is very effective and her diligence ensures the right message is articulated. It is no surprise to me she has a strong track record of helping entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes support their growth. Aside from her professional competencies, Rachel genuinely cares about people and working with her allows you to focus on your core business. For those who are new to building their own business or employed by a large corporate, you will get value and authenticity from Rachel’s content and PR services.

Jayne McIntosh, Director, Air Aesthetics Health & Wellness Clinics

I met with Rachel and was instantly impressed with her warmth, enthusiasm and ability to understand the key issues being faced. She took time to clarity objectives and the key tasks required. A quick study she was able to pinpoint the brand tone of voice accurately. Rachel’s’ copy writing skills have been excellent. She has written for my business website, advertorial pages in lifestyle magazine and has also written first class responses to awards entries which are curtailed in length. Rachel is just really, really good!

Victoria Curtis, Company Secretary, Mono Roofing Ltd

Rachel came to provide our company with an appraisal for the company PR, and we learnt an awful lot! Rachel taught us how to make the most of our marketing and advertising and how to make it work for us, to get the client’s we really want. Rachel has provided our company with a plan to follow, and we are gradually implementing these procedures, and we know that in doing so, it will really raise the profile of our company and get us the work we want. I would definitely recommend Rachel to manage your company’s PR.

Trusha Lakhani, MD, Great Business Matters t/a Trusha Lakhani

Rachel Hargrave is one of the best PR experts that I have met. She not only understands the best awards for her clients but also how to make the most of the opportunity for the client’s personality. Put simply Rachel gets people. She understands her clients and their goals and is with you all the way. I highly recommend Rachel Hargrave and The Awards people and RDZ PR.

Paul Gerrard, MD, Gerrard Cranes

Rachel and I met yesterday to discuss my existing marketing and options for how we can improve and develop the strategy for my business. It’s very clear that Rachel has vast amounts of experience, knowledge, ability and some great contacts to achieve some amazing results. If you need some professional guidance with PR/awards/marketing then I’d highly recommend you get in touch with Rachel and see how she can help you out.

Victoria Beale, CEO, Business Live Global

I’ve worked with Rachel for the past ten years on a variety of client projects and for my business also and the service we have received has been second to none, consistent and most importantly delivers RESULTS. I would have no hesitation recommending RDZ PR to my customers and Business Live Network. Thanks Rach! Here’s to another ten years and more!

Mark Esho MBE, Easy Internet Services, Easy Internet Solutions, Dreme, Access Rating CIC

Thanks for all the hard work you put into the PR work for our companies and subsequently the business award submissions. You made the whole process stress-free, and the quality of the submissions have resulted in the receipt of multiple business awards. Great work, Rachel.