Greggs: on authenticity and keeping things silly

Bakery chain Greggs is thriving, thanks in no small part to its cheeky approach to branding and marketing. As a part of our Annual 2019 coverage, Emma Tucker finds out why the brand’s no-nonsense attitude works so well

Brands talk a lot about authenticity, but few of them actually manage it. Along with ‘purpose’ and ‘creativity for good’, it’s become another one of those industry buzzwords which more often than not mean very little. However, Greggs is a rare example of a business that’s got it right. The bakery chain isn’t just booming – sales recently topped the £1bn mark – it’s also loved by its customers. Obviously delicious buttery sausage rolls play a part in that, but over the past year Greggs has shown an innate ability to connect with consumers in a way that feels down-to-earth and, dare we say it, authentic.

The brand got its start in 1939, when founder John Gregg was delivering bread and pastries to families in Newcastle by bike. In 1951 he opened the first shop, Greggs of Gosforth on Gosforth High Street, and the company continued to grow. Now Greggs has over 1,700 stores in the UK, delivers hot baked goods to a select number of cities, and was recently described by The Times as “a pop culture phenomenon”