Making a supermarket super once again


The Challenge

Around New York City, everybody knows Associated Supermarkets. It’s the dependable, if lackluster, neighborhood grocery store. A solid, recognizable name that had been an industry leader in food merchandising. A recent acquisition by a private equity firm promised to pump new blood into the brand but it was in pretty dire need of a branding overhaul.

Associated was dependable because it relied on a retail model that had been around for ages. In a landscape with fresher (pardon the pun) new entrants, like Whole Foods and Fairway, it had to ‘up its’ game’ when it came to retail presentation. Or get out of the way and make room for the new guys.







Our Strategy

To bring a brand back to life you start deep and build up and out. You delve into the brand’s background, talk to everyone involved and put the pieces together to create – for Associated’s needs– a better branding image.

MHCG initiated a nationwide study of Associated’s retail identity, went on to talk to their top executives to get their input, interviewed field personnel to get a feel for what went on in the store and did a sweep of Associated facilities. Then we went on to inspect their competitor’s stores as well.

We came back and got working.

We recognized a real need for a new- and comprehensive- visual identification system. We redesigned their logo and signage, revamped their branding colors, revised and updated their marketing materials, all without sacrificing the equity elements that resonated positively among their loyal core demographic. It signaled a change to the market at large – that Associated was in fine fighting form – and reassured loyalists that Associated hadn’t abandoned their core customers.


A quick stroll around New York City will tell you Associated is back, relevant and successfully taking on the new entrants in the neighborhood. Retail sales are up and the rebranding has been successful with both new and old customers.