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Grainger Games Brand Improvements

5 Ways Grainger Games Can Improve Their Brand

Grainger Games are an independent video game retailer that started life in Newcastle, but have rapidly grown and opened stores across the UK.

The popular games retailer recently committed career suicide at the 2011 Games Media Awards in London, an event which they had sponsored, to raise brand awareness.

This article focuses on five ideas that can help Grainger Games improve their brand and move on from the GMA disaster.

1. Rebrand & Rethink

Grainger Games need a rebrand. Their orange and green colour palette definitely gets their shops noticed but it looks tired and dated. The signage looks tacky and the decor puts more people off than entice them in. Grainger Games are a cheap games outlet, they sell their games for less than the RRP and it’s a strategy that works, but does that mean their shops have to reflect that? Now that the footfall is there, Grainger Games should do away with their garish orange and green branding efforts and bring in something sleek and classy looking, think Apple Store meets HMV.

Grainger Games logo

The Grainger Games logo would be the first port of call for a rebrand. Currently, the logo backs up the rest of the brand, cheap and dated. If I was rebranding Grainger Games, I’d move the company away from those connotations and be looking to effectively communicate; great quality products and services. A shift in mentality is needed, alongside a shift in design.

2. Strip Back the Website Design

The website (graingergames.co.uk) is very full on, I’d call it information overload. The amount of content on display could easily be reduced and the site would still serve it’s intent and purpose. Recently, the company have taken to making their new competition details into the background for every page, which causes a horrible clash with the main content. The automatic animations of the upcoming releases and best sellers as well as the pre-orders slider at the bottom of the page also adds to the chaos of the website and draws the eye all over, confusing the viewer.

As we’re told in many areas of our lives, K.I.S.S, keep it simple stupid, and that’s something that Grainger Games need to start adhering too.

3. Get Rid of the Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are dreadful and are a complete hazard to the environment. They’re cheap, but the risks to the environment, wildlife and our planet should outweigh the cost of a plastic bag to carry home your new games.

One solution that could be implemented straight away would be to ask; “Do you need a bag?” Rather than assuming. The second would be to change from plastic bags to paper bags. Not only would recyclable, bio-degradable, paper bags be less harmful to our planet, but, they’d also be more aesthetically pleasing, something that Grainger Games should be striving to achieve with a rebrand.

High street giant Primark recently made the change from plastic to paper, generating a lot of news coverage for the company, as well as helping save the planet. A little closer to home, CEX, a direct competitor of Grainger Games, also use paper bags effectively, even offering bags for life with bigger purchases such as games consoles.

Grainger Games might argue; “We can’t afford to switch.” In the quantity that they would order, the price difference would be minuscule. And, if local Indian takeaways can afford to use paper bags, then surely a national company can afford to do the same?

Grainger Games Humvee

4. Ditch That Hummer

A Humvee as a marketing tool? How ridiculous is that? Completely. They’re massive, they catch the eye and they get talked about a lot, but again, for all of the wrong reasons. Much like the plastic bag debate, these colossal machines are completely ruining our planet and that’s not something any business should be proud of. The amount of plastic used within the gaming industry out of necessity alone should be enough to try and prevent all other damage to the environment.

With a lot of Grainger Games being city-based, why not use that to their advantage? Public transport is a cheap and popular way to get into the city, as is cycling. So, how about sponsoring a Metro carriage and decking it out with the new Grainger Games branding. Or, hiring a bike patrol to cycle around, promoting their shops? There are solutions that don’t involve making that hole in the atmosphere even bigger.

5. Not Just Games Anymore, Change The Name

I know it’s a long stretch for a big company to go and change their name, but, I think they could modify it. Grainger Games no longer only trade in games. They deal with consoles, telephones, computers, blu-rays and more. Initially, I’d have said to change the entire name as the name is probably commonly misspelled as; Granger. However, renaming the whole company would be entirely impossible, so how about dropping the word “games”. When used in conversation, people say; “I bought it at Graingers”, not; “I bought it at Grainger Games”, so, take it and run with it.

There are lots of areas in which Grainger Games could improve their brand. This 5 point list is just a starting point and a catalyst for ideas. Hopefully this post finds it’s way in front of somebody at the nationwide games retailer and makes them stop and think, just for even a second about a change that they could make. They also need to remember that not all press is good press.

What are your thoughts on the companies branding? What would you change?

23 Responses

  1. Point 6: Sack the idiots that ruined that games event in the first place. I bought from Grainger Games once, but after reading about the behavior of them that evening, and seeing the ridiculous Hummer I don’t think I ever will again until I know their core values (and probably therefore staff!) have changed.

    1. @Linzi

      I didn’t include sacking the people that ruined the event in the first place because I thought it went without saying. The hummer is a ridiculous drain on the environment, and I’d go as far to say it’s a completely ineffective marketing tool.

      Grainger Games have to change their core values and instil some trust back into their brand. They’re seriously lacking any of that at the minute.

  2. Simon

    Yep, that’s why both Gamestation and Game have closed down but Grainger Games have opened up a second shop where I live. Sounds really like they committed “career suicide”. I also don’t get what the problem with the shop looking cheap is, that’s the whole reason I tried the place! Also the Hummer has had huge crowds in the high street when it came to town and allowed people to play PS3 in the back of it, I think you overestimate how much gamers care about pollution (I mean they only play war games, and racing games, many RPGs promote the chopping of trees and making fires)

    1. @Simon

      There’s no doubting the company are successful, they do however come with a certain stigma attached and a fairly bad reputation within the industry. Fair enough, they might not care, but maybe they should? People engage more with businesses that care about them, meeting their every need. That’s why Apple are so successful.

      In regards to people not caring about pollution, there’s nothing that anyone can do to change that, but, it should be a big concern. There’s room for improvement by Grainger Games, it doesn’t have to be drastic, but giving paper bags away instead of plastic carriers wouldn’t exactly cost them the earth and would help put them on the right track improving the public’s perception.

      1. Matt Sharper

        eople engage more with businesses that care about them, meeting their every need. That’s why Apple are so successful.

        Utter bollocks

  3. Fran

    Any actual proof to back up your points?

    Decor puts more people off than entice them in – says who? Have you stood outside the shops canvassing people?

    Bring in something sleek and classy looking, think Apple Store meets HMV – Why? That’s not what they are. They’re not high end, they’re not sleek or classy. They’re not an aspiration brand, and why should they be? They are what they are, they’re doing well.

    Really crap article to be perfectly honest.

    1. Any actual proof to back up yours?

      “Decor puts more people off than entice them in – says who? Have you stood outside the shops canvassing people?”
      Who says it doesn’t? Blog posts are opinion pieces. My opinion is, it puts me off and I know several others who think it needs work too.

      “Bring in something sleek and classy looking, think Apple Store meets HMV – Why? That’s not what they are. They’re not high end, they’re not sleek or classy. They’re not an aspiration brand, and why should they be? They are what they are, they’re doing well.”
      Yes, they’re doing well, but they could be doing better. Also, within the industry, they’ve lost a fair bit of respect. You can tell that by reading around the internet. Their little publicity stunt a few years back didn’t sit so well.

      “Really crap article to be perfectly honest.”
      If you’d like to suggest ways for me to become a better blogger, please do?

      1. Fran

        The thing is – yes blogs are opinion pieces, and you’re absolutely entitled to say what you want. But you’re touting yourself as some kind of oracle on all things branding – as if you’ve made the effort to do some research – and you haven’t.

        I used to work in the games industry, so I know that those are in the know about things like the GMA debacle aren’t usually the same people who buy their games on the high street. I really don’t think it’s harmed their brand too much (even though it probably should have).

        Hey, your blog’s working, you’re getting a response. Don’t berate people on twitter for doing so. I’ll not be giving you any views or traffic from now on thanks to that.

        1. But you’re touting yourself as some kind of oracle on all things branding.
          Don’t agree with that. I’m giving my opinion on how I think the Grainger Games brand could improve. Anyone could write an opinion based piece. Having a background in corporate identity and brand design, I’d say the experience that I have to share would be valid?

          I really don’t think it’s harmed their brand too much (even though it probably should have).
          I think it would’ve harmed it more had more people known about it.

          Your blog’s working, you’re getting a response. Don’t berate people on twitter for doing so. I’ll not be giving you any views or traffic from now on thanks to that.
          I’m not bothered about views or traffic, their vanity statistics. All I’m bothered about is creating discussion, which has happened. You brought the personal level into it when attacking my blog post because you disagree with it?

          Also, can’t work out why when you’re clearly up for a sensible discussion about it, that you wouldn’t leave a real email address so you could be informed of notifications?

  4. Astarin

    I agree with you on many of these points. It never bothered me when I was younger however, I used to go there to get the games, get them cheap and get them straight away. (Too impatient to wait for delivery times).

    However as I’ve grown older, you notice the logo is cheap looking, the store could in general use a bit more finesse… and one thing that stops me sometimes… and this may be harsh, but the smell of the shops. Each one has the same smell!

    The website is a vast improvement to how it used to be I admit, but it’s again suited to the logo, and the logo looks cheap.

    As for the hummer! Someone was saying it brings massive crowds? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it parked anywhere but outside Whitley Road headquarters or on the news after the disastrous attempt at being cool.

    1. I agree with you on many of these points. It never bothered me when I was younger however, I used to go there to get the games, get them cheap and get them straight away. (Too impatient to wait for delivery times).
      Totally agree with that. I always used to get my stuff from there. Only use Play and Amazon now.

      and this may be harsh, but the smell of the shops. Each one has the same smell!
      I also picked up on this too but decided to leave it out of my article. I don’t get what the smell is or why it’s there?

      As for the hummer! Someone was saying it brings massive crowds? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it parked anywhere but outside Whitley Road headquarters or on the news after the disastrous attempt at being cool.
      It really is a marketing catastrophe. We should be making strides towards preserving planet Earth, not destroying it.

  5. Mapou

    For someone with a such a intrest in marketing, it’s strange that you’re ignoring the fact that for the segment Grainger are targeting (and doing very successful in, opening new shops whilst HMV/Game/Blockbuster et al are struggling), none of the above points are needed or even appear to be anything but a waste of money (i imagine you haven’t had experience in even a partial rebrand of a national chain – not cheap particularly in a market which is clearly on hard times).

    Whilst there’s no denying stores like Apple are much more sleek and well designed, this clearly isn’t what Grainger are aiming to achive, so to say “A shift in mentality is needed” is a bold statement when they’re clearly achieving their goals and outperforming the market – this “need” seems to be based on nothing but your opinion of X’s storefront looks better than Y’s, therefore X is a better business than Y. One of the examples used is HMV, I believe recent developments may tell you all you need to know that a sleek image isn’t needed for every business. Would poundland be more popular if it had a better image – possibly. However, would the costs involved in maintaining this outweigh the increased sales? Almost certainly.

    1. Would changing from plastic environment harming carrier bags to environmentally friendly and recyclable paper bags be a waste of money? Would ditching the stupid Hummvee be a waste of money?

      I didn’t actually say that they “need” to look like the Apple store, or HMV, I just suggested that if they they did, then maybe they’d become even more profitable. HMV clearly didn’t get something right, but I think that’s less to do with their image and more to do with their pricing structure.

      Thanks for commenting.

  6. Mapou

    “I didn’t actually say that they “need” to look like the Apple store”

    “Grainger Games need a rebrand”
    “Grainger Games should do away with…”
    ” A shift in mentality is needed”

    All quotes saying they NEED or SHOULD to do something about their brand, rather than they COULD do something to alter their image.

    “Would changing from plastic environment harming carrier bags to environmentally friendly and recyclable paper bags be a waste of money”
    Again, whilst they may be losing business from more enviromentally concious customers, plastic bags are very much the norm rather than the exception on the high street at the moment, meaning that this is unlikely to be affecting the business as much as you suggest.


    “Would ditching the stupid Hummvee be a waste of money?”
    The Hummer is a marketing tool, which whilst may appear garish and not appeal to everyone, is clearly doing its job in terms of getting publicity if you’re writing about it.

    1. It also states “this post is a starting point, a catalyst of ideas”. So basically if I said “Granger Games COULD rebrand and try this…” that would sit better with you?

      “Again, whilst they may be losing business from more enviromentally concious customers, plastic bags are very much the norm rather than the exception on the high street at the moment, meaning that this is unlikely to be affecting the business as much as you suggest.”
      My main concern on that point was the environment, not their profit to be honest. It’s fairly irresponsible of any chain to still be giving away free plastic bags.

      “The Hummer is a marketing tool, which whilst may appear garish and not appeal to everyone, is clearly doing its job in terms of getting publicity if you’re writing about it.”
      But not all publicity is good publicity? Which was the original point in the article. Yes it makes people talk, but so would a running down Northumberland street with Grainger Games painted on your arse. Point being, you’d still get arrested and make the news for the wrong reasons.

  7. Mapou

    “It also states “this post is a starting point, a catalyst of ideas”. So basically if I said “Granger Games COULD rebrand and try this…” that would sit better with you?”

    I understand the blog is an opinion piece, but at the same time stating a brand “needs” to do something after commiting “career suicide” makes you look ill-informed when Grainger appears from the outside to be doing very well in a market where the vast majority of the competition are having toruble.


    My main concern on that point was the environment, not their profit to be honest. It’s fairly irresponsible of any chain to still be giving away free plastic bags.

    Unfortunately it appears that not many people share your concern, or at least aren’t reflecting this in their buying habits. Until this changes, I can’t see Grainger (or any of the countless other brands on the high street for that matter) taking much notice.

    At the same time – your choice of amazon for games purchases could be criticised in terms of the damage caused to the enviroment when delivering small items compared to a trip to the local high street – (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8007020/Online-shopping-often-not-better-for-environment-report-says.html)

    This goes without mentioning the tax loopholes used by a lot of online only retailers (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/dec/03/amazon-google-starbucks-tax-avoidance)


    “The Hummer is a marketing tool, which whilst may appear garish and not appeal to everyone, is clearly doing its job in terms of getting publicity if you’re writing about it.”
    But not all publicity is good publicity”

    Whilst not all publicity is good publicity, the hummer clearly appeals to Grainger Games target market, wether you as an individual agree with that or not, the couple of times i’ve seen this in the city centre it has been surrounded by kids taking photos, playing on games using the consoles in the boot etc.

    Whilst I agree with some of your points on a personal level, coming across like a business ‘needs’ to do anything when they dont appear to be struggling makes it sound like an attack on the brand rather than genuine ideas and could come across as unprofessional on a website promoting your business, specifically when coupled with your twitter account as another commenter mentioned. Food for thought.

    1. “Grainger appears from the outside to be doing very well in a market where the vast majority of the competition are having trouble.”
      I think Grainger Games are doing well, I just think they could be doing better?

      “Unfortunately it appears that not many people share your concern, or at least aren’t reflecting this in their buying habits. Until this changes, I can’t see Grainger (or any of the countless other brands on the high street for that matter) taking much notice.”
      No, you’re right there. Until consumer habits change, nobody will take notice, which is a shame. Because by that time, I think it might actually be far too late.

      In regards to not shopping at Amazon for whatever reason…if you extended that logic out, you’d probably end up living in a bubble. If I stopped shopping with Amazon for tax purposes, and stopped drinking Starbucks coffee, then I’d also need to stop paying City Centre parking prices, because I don’t agree with those either. Sometimes, it’s just picking the lesser of two evils I guess?

      I guess the Hummer does appeal to their target market, but most of the times I’ve seen it, it’s been parked outside their HQ at Benton Asda area. It still doesn’t change my personal view on it. There are other ways they could appeal to their target market, perhaps more interactive ways?

      I wasn’t attacking Grainger Games personally. I thought that this article would make for 1. a bit of an entertaining read and 2. stir up a bit of discussion. I think it’s succeeded in both areas. On a website and blog about branding, naturally I’m going to talk about and question the branding of other companies. Is that a bad thing? People do it all the time, why not have a sensible discussion on a platform like a blog?

      And in regards to my Twitter, I’d say I’ve never really received as many comments on a blog post before, but launching a personal attack on an opinion based article as “fairly crap” got my heckles up.

      Anyway, thanks for the comments. It’s good to debate about things.

  8. Derek Redmond

    The Grainger Games in Washington (The Galleries) has to be amongst the worst of their stores, the staff have NO idea about personal hygiene. Some of the fatter ones almost have me fainting with their rank stench of sweat.

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