Unlocking the heart of a heritage brand
Stater Bros. Markets has a long history of serving SoCal families—now it brings the brand into its future.
For more than 85 years, Southern California grocer Stater Bros. was known for its low prices and local, grassroots heritage. But with retail giants like Walmart and Target infringing on the grocery space, and an increasingly diverse shopper community at its stores, Stater Bros. recognized the need for a new position. We partnered with the regional grocer for the largest brand activation effort in their history—here’s what we learned about revitalizing a legacy brand:
You can turn a new leaf and dig into your roots.
But doing so requires a deep understanding of what those roots really mean. The history of two brothers bootstrapping their store through the Great Depression had been carried through the brand via a strong homage to the past and steadfast commitment to affordability. However, today’s SoCal shoppers are looking for a deeper connection with Stater Bros., one rooted in welcoming inclusivity and a caring, emotional connection.
Through in-depth market research, Traina found the data to confirm what Stater Bros. had long suspected: their heart for the community was what truly set them apart. Community and family became two lenses through which a new brand strategy was envisioned, and Stater Bros. became the champion of modern-day families of all shapes and sizes, while emphasizing greater inclusion of the Hispanic communities they already served.
Inclusivity is more than representation.
It’s a much larger behavior that permeates a brand, from core values to marketing and merchandising. For Stater Bros., this meant elevating bilingualism and putting diversity front and center on grocery shelves. A focus on freshness and convenience was designed to appeal to young, on-the-go shoppers, and even new in-store music and messaging was adopted to make the store a reflection of the community it serves. These updated touchpoints modernize the brand experience, while instilling confidence in a new generation of shoppers that they are not only seen, but cared for as people and members of a community. The result is a brand that doesn’t just look different, but behaves differently.
A brand should be felt everywhere, in every way.
To bring these new behaviors throughout the brand, Traina’s agile workflow allowed for research, strategy and client needs to seamlessly inform the design process:
Activating the “S”
Building on the equity of Stater Bros.’ longstanding logo, the “S” curve was made a signature element across the brand’s visual identity system, softening the crop on anything from printed material to tractor trailers, and offering a “visual hug” to images of fresh food and real people spanning the Stater Bros. community.
The photography we produced and guidelines we established ensure striking visuals. Food photos are warm, inviting and emphasize flavor—each image has a cue to an occasion and an implied human touch in the composition: a waiting fork, or a first bite just taken.
Lifestyle shots likewise capture a real, candid moment in time, and convey a range of different ages and life stages from the Stater Bros. community, conveying a sense of energy and belonging.
Weaving through the brand identity is iconography that uses the fluid movement of red thread to harken back to the signature curve and symbolize many grocery attributes in a unified and elegant visual system.
We also created a social brand guide for Stater Bros. to express itself in unique ways that further the brand: outlining how to use colors, content, voice and partnerships to be playful and keep up with real people and real trends while still being connected to the heart of who they are.
The new brand comes to life in a comprehensive advertising campaign for which we scripted, conceptualized and produced a pair of lifestyle commercials and led creative for a multichannel rollout across television, OTT, social, digital, OOH, radio and streaming audio to broadcast the new messaging far and wide in their community.
The “Bring It Home” campaign reintroduces the brand to the region they call home, and emphasizes how they are—and have always been—a staple in the lives of families they serve. The unified message expresses the brand’s value as more than just fresh food at a great price, but providing ingredients to make memories that matter.
External change starts with internal momentum
A rebrand at the scale of Stater Bros. could not have happened without trust and collaboration between teams—an exchange fostered at every stage of our partnership. In preparation for Stater Bros.’ internal brand launch across 172 stores and 18,000 employees, Traina created a comprehensive brand guide and rollout strategies, held messaging workshops and training sessions, and generated a bespoke curriculum to maximize brand adoption.
The Traina team is every bit as passionate as we are about our brand and its success. The biggest compliment I can give is the way they made us feel special, like we were their top priority, every day.”Dennis McIntyre, EVP of marketing and CMO at Stater Bros.