Sainsbury’s name change

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This is a bug bear of mine so apologies for the verbiage. A massive superstore on the outskirts of a village and complete disregard for actual location, preferring to be called ‘Brookwood’ over Knaphill. All other Sainsbury’s stores throughout the country, as far as I can determine, are correctly named after their location. Not so for Knaphill who has had numerous problems with the way this business approaches local communities (this is a small reference to planning and conduct of the store on recent years in case you were wondering!)

Your views

This bothered me so much I created a poll to see YOUR views and a hefty final 76% wanted it changed to be named after Knaphill. Curiously, before I sent a letter to Sainsbury’s Plc head office the figure was 85%, it dipped shortly after. No, I am not saying they had anything to do with it, merely pointing it out.

As mentioned, I sent a request to Sainsbury’s asking for a name change to be considered as a part of their current enlargement of their Redding Way store. I got a quick ‘it’s been passed to our property team’ and nothing more for a month. So I chased it and got another quick response – NO.

The store is, according to the property team’s investigation, named after Brookwood Hospital and therefore has an historical link. This is despite having been convinced in previous years that reference to Brookwood be dropped (ergo the historical reference is not that important perhaps?), reference to the store in numerous communications being stated as ‘Knaphill’ and even having a current web site for the development headed as ‘Sainsbury’s Knaphill’ (http://sainsburys-knaphill.co.uk/contact-us/) which I fully expect to see changed soon. I was then passed to their PR company, GKA.

I would have been content with that if the store name had been ‘Sainsbury’s Brookwood Hospital’ which would indicate both location and historical reference; but it isn’t. It still just refers to nearby Brookwood to any visitor, despite it’s obvious address. So I replied and pointed this out to them, also that it was Knaphill Common prior to being Brookwood Hospital (so I am led to believe) and I got a quick reply – we’re not changing the name, speak to our PR company (although they ‘want to be a positive part of any community we are working in’. The level of engagement thus far is underwhelming.

Naming confusion?

I didn’t mention this before but I asked Sainsbury’s shortly after moving to Knaphill just why their store was named after a different village… They said it’s because of the railway station. Not to be a pedant (OK, partly to be a pedant) but that does not gel with their current line of reasoning.

I believe the real reason is that it costs cash to change a few details (new signage and name on receipts etc) and the people of Knaphill’s opinion is not worth the relative pittance it would take to achieve this. Personally I’d be quite content with either ‘Sainsbury’s Brookwood Hospital’ or ‘Sainsbury’s Knaphill’ but I am NOT happy with the current naming pedigree.

What next

What happens next? Well I forwarded on the conversation to Sam and Jodie at GKA and am awaiting a response. Just what they can do, even if they wanted to change the name is beyond me as it’s a separate company to Sainsbury’s. Still, I keenly await the ‘We’re sorry etc’ reply.

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UPDATE 9/7/2013

I’ve had several replies from various people with the same job title – Customer Manager – along the same lines. We’ll look into it, please contact GKA, no current plans to change the name, please contact GKA, despite references to Knaphill in documentation it is officially called Brookwood, please contact GKA, we’re awaiting a point of detail and finally:

I appreciate that the store’s name is a source of frustration for you given its location. As you have been advised Sainsbury’s is unable to change the name of their stores as the official name that was originally adopted is used throughout the organisation. It is important for each Sainsbury’s store to be clearly identified with one name so that it can be easily referred to within the company. To change the name could cause confusion from an operational perspective and may also lead to confusion amongst customers from the wider area who know the store as Brookwood.

The recent information mailings and website regarding the on-going construction project have referred to ‘Knaphill’ as this is how the store was referred to publicly throughout the planning stage. The information issued during planning and construction has been aimed specifically at the store’s close neighbours and does not affect the store’s corporate identity.

Sam Hinton (GKA)

For unable, read: unwilling. So there we have it – not going to happen. Sainsbury’s is apparently keen to be an active member of the Knaphill Community so if anyone has any evidence of them doing so please tell me as I can’t remember a single thing they’ve done apart from build a store and call it after a neighbouring village. I do genuinely want to know this!

 

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Andy is a business systems and operations consultant for The Business Delicatessen and has helped the KRA over several years. He is former editor of the magazine and also runs Fat Crow Design.

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