Subway® and Brand Communication

Subway® and Brand Communication

July 31, 2023
Marketing Two Cents

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Data Analysis Skills |

Active User Rate

Daily Budget

Campaign Budget

Click-through rate increase

Click-through Rate

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Return on Investment

Data Analysis Skills |


Daily Budget

Prioritisation of
Limited Resources

Click-through rate increase


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1.0 Introduction

In the worldwide fast food industry, Subway® manages to conquer a share of the market under the intense competition. As a sandwich brand with more than 44,000 locations around the world, Subway® has a 50-year-old of history and continue to expand in the Australian market. Subway® aims to offer fresh, made to order and affordable sandwiches for people who are seeking quick, nutritious meals that even the whole family can enjoy. Today, its store (1232) has outnumbered the 830 McDonald's restaurants. It is worth mentioning that each Subway® store is individual-owned and operated, but how did a Sandwich franchising business achieve such scale? In this report, Subway® product and brand will be analysis, followed by its marketing analysis with market segmentation and positioning. Its value proposition will be identified, and its marketing brand communication will be presented to see how did the strategies match with Subway® brand value. The conclusion will be presented below.

2.0 Subway® - My Kind of Fresh

2.1 Company Background Briefing

Subway® is a food franchising business specialises in the submarine sandwich - making and food catering service. As mentioned, there are 1232 stores in Australia, even more than McDonald’s restaurant. Each store is individually owned and operated, which makes it very unique as it provides more job opportunities and management flexibility than the other competitors. Subway® focus on sandwich, wraps and salad products and identifies itself as “sandwich artist”. This creative sandwich-making company employs 5000-10,000 employees, and there are around 6-10 employees in each store. With the $20 billion fast-food market in Australian and 3.3% of annual growth rate has been released by IBIS (2019), Subway® is dealing with intense local and international competition.

Under the intense competition, Subway® needs to identify its unique selling proposition and establish a differentiated market. Unlike the most of fast-food brand, Subway® offers a well-known healthy combination in its product to target customer’s specific needs: fresh, affordable, made to order, craving and healthy sandwiches ("The History of SUBWAY® | - Australia" 2019).

With the information presented above, the unique selling points that Subway’s products hold can be summarised as follows:

  • Affordable, fast manufacturing sandwich, wrap and salad
  • Fully customizable. Creative and extensive options
  • Fresh, healthy and especially suitable for work-out supply
  • Friendly and cheering brand identity and customer service.
(Exhibit 1 Subway® Business Brief, Source: Self Compliance, 2019)
(Exhibit 1 Subway® Summary, Source: Self Compilation, 2019)

Subway Banner Creative Preview
(Exhibit 2 Subway® Primary Creative Preview, Source:, 2019)

2.2 Situation analysis

Subway® has been the third-largest fast-food provider right after McDonald and KFC. It's brand recognition is in global-level, and its value is unique, compared to the existing brand at a similar scale and structure. However, with the rapid development of economic and general health perception, Subway® is still facing the challenges in products, pricing and scandal, which play a vital role in branding.

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(Exhibit 3 Subway® SWOT Analysis, Source: Self Compilation, 2019)

2.3 Segmentation and Target Market

Subway® understands and utilises its advantages that attribute customer engagement and conversion. By targeting and positioning its brands, Subway® analysis the market pattern and deliver a clear, distinctive message to the potential audience. As a fast-food business, Subway’s product is suitable for everyone who is craving delicious sandwiches. However, with its unique, healthy and extensive choices features, Subway® is very attractive to a certain group of customers – people who pride in their healthy life and concentrates fitness. There are some significant overview gadgets in Australia food market (IBISWorld 2019):

  • Overall AU$20 billion revenue fast food market in 2019.
  • Overall AU$907 million revenue in 2019 sandwich market.
  • Sandwich industry revenue is expected to grow at a rate of 4.1%.
  • Fast food revenue annual growth rate is 3.3%.
  • Overall 188,655 people are working for Australia fast food industry, and 8901 people are working in Sandwich business.
  • 379 businesses are competing in the current Australia market.

2.3.1    Geographic

A business needs to be differentiated and contains less industry homogeneity to satisfy customer rational purchase needs (Smith 1956). Subway® has more than thousands of stores in Australia, which makes easy access to a customer who wants to grab some food anywhere, anytime (Zappone 2019). However, due to the nature of fast food targeting market, Subway® is aiming to locate in business, a commercial centre where the general foot traffic is high.

  • The direct targeting area is the business district with high foot traffic. For example, the daily average foot traffic in Sydney busy area is 2521 (City of Sydney 2019).
  • The average store market coverage is considered relatively low as the perceived value of fast food is not as high as a decent restaurant. A 3km geographic area is identified as the maximum influence area.
  • The total national target population would be 11,845,987 (Age group from 10 - 59).
  • Moreover, the target audience for the local store should be consistent with its district daily foot traffic.
(Exhibit 5 Subway® Store-location Pattern, Source:, 2019)
(Exhibit 5 Subway® Store-location Pattern, Source:, 2019)

(Exhibit 6 Walking Count in Sydney Area, Source: City of Sydney, 2019)
(Exhibit 6 Walking Count in Sydney Area, Source: City of Sydney, 2019)

2.3.2    Demographic

Subway® ’s primary product is suitable for most of the age group. Due to its nature of fresh material, Subway® has created several combinations that enable smooth distribution to the different customer group.

  • The age group of 7 – 18 customers are targeted with Kid’s park product category
  • Age of 18-55 group takes up 90% of Subway® target markets.
  • No gender specification, customer can be either study or work. However, working professionals will be highly targeted in the business area.
  • Average food spending outside the home should be AU $30 -$45(2 person)
  • No religion or meat-sensitive requirement since the product covers most needs.
(Exhibit 5 Subway® Customer Demographics, Source: Facebook, 2019)
(Exhibit 5 Subway® Customer Demographics, Source: Facebook, 2019)

(Exhibit 6 Subway® Ideal Customer Profile, Source: Self Compilation, 2019)
(Exhibit 6 Subway® Ideal Customer Profile, Source: Self Compilation, 2019)

2.3.3    Psychographic

The slogan of “My kind of fresh” demonstrate the psychographic among Subway® customer. People who are a beginner to intermedia level fitness lover practise healthy lifestyle will be the potential loyal customer. Also, the customizable choice of healthy sub sandwich will be another primary factor of brand engagement. It is the exact opposite way of delivering the service by its competitors like KFC, McDonald’s, and others. However, people who love fast food regardless of the type will also potentially engage the Subway® brand.

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(Exhibit 7 People who are interested in Subway® will also be interested in those categories, Source: Facebook, 2019)
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(Exhibit 8 Subway® is Targeting Healthy Lifestyle Lovers, Source: Facebook, 2019)

2.3.4    Behavioural

  • The target market has no concern for fast food.
  • They are career-orientated
  • They are looking for fast service to satisfy hunger and thirst without worrying too much about health.
  • They are bargain hunter, smart shopper

3.0 Challenges in Subway® Branding

(Exhibit 9, Attributes of Subway Branding Challenges Source: Self Compilation, 2019)
(Exhibit 9, Attributes of Subway Branding Challenges Source: Self Compilation, 2019)

4.0 Position Map

 Exhibit 10 Subway® Positioning Map | Marketing
(Exhibit 10 Subway® Positioning Map, Source: Self Compilation, 2019)

5.0 Brand Strategies and Communication (Market Differentiation)

Subway® is proud to be able to offer the following benefits that are essential to its customers:

  • Selection – Subway® offers millions of sandwich combination which covers each individual taste (Coffee et al. 2019).
  • Wellbeing – Subway® cares about its ingredient and customer’s well-being. Delivering fresh and healthy sandwich is the on-going goal.
  • Competitive pricing – all products in Subway® are affordable and should be able to be happily shared with family and friends.

5.1 Rebranding

Subway® admitted they are losing emotional connection to their customer (Coffee et al. 2019). In 2017, they started to roll out the new logo and launch a new brand identity to the public. The new logo demonstrates a new look to emphasis the same brand value: health, value and indulgence (Coffee et al. 2019). By utilising this chance, Subway® did a make-over to its stores, which makes comfortable feeling to the customers (Sullivan 2017). (Refer to appendix 4).

Subway Logo Make-over | Marketing
(Exhibit 11 Subway Logo Make-over)

5.2 Digital Branding

   Subway® combines different digital channels to share its brand value. Social media is the primary tool it utilises to interact with customer and its offline campaign. However, the total engagement in social media seems not as quite as expected(refer to appendix 1). The likes and comment each post received are little. Moreover, poor layout and navigation can be seen on their website. The overall quality of the social connection is yet to be successful. (Refer to appendix 2)

5.3 Traditional Branding

Subway® pays more attention to content marketing in order to cope with the rebranding process. (analysis refers to appendix 4)

  • Store renovation – Store make-over will bring attention and shows the dedication of changing
  • Print poster – Subway® tend to use a significant proportion in image display to show the ingredients in its product. The food-centric creative is shown both online and in-store, which is eye-catching and makes an impression of deliciousness.
  • Traditional media – set up a combination of billboards, bus ad, train station ad, TV advertising and other traditional advertising to deliver its brand value.
  • Event and influencer collaboration – collaborate with sports influencers in world sandwich day, create imagery scenes of Subway® product in different scenarios (occupation, location).

6.0 Conclusion

Subway® is going through up and down in the past few years, but brand awareness is still maintaining a reasonable level and well-known. This achievement has a significant connection with its brand communication in types, ways, and changes. It is delighted to see that Subway® keep the brand equity with consistency in fresh, value and indulgence, but the digital engagement with the customer still needs more effort.

Appendix 1

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Appendix 2

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Appendix 3

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Appendix 4

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Reference List

"Fast Food and Takeaway Food Services – Australia Industry Report | IBISWorld" 2019, viewed July 23 2019, <>.

"The History of SUBWAY | - Australia" 2019, viewed July 23 2019, <>.

Becker, S 2019, "Why Subway’s Sales are Falling Fast", Showbiz Cheat Sheet, viewed July 24 2019, <>.

Cash, M 2019, "SUBWAY now faces serious branding challenge",, viewed July 24 2019, <>.

Clark, J, Algoe, S & Green, M 2017, "Social Network Sites and Well-Being: The Role of Social Connection", Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 32-37.

Coffee, P, Rittenhouse, L, Coffee, P & Rittenhouse, L 2019, "Subway's Bold Rebranding Campaign Promises a Different Taste for Everyone",, viewed July 25 2019, <>.

Coleman, D, de Chernatony, L & Christodoulides, G 2011, "B2B service brand identity: Scale development and validation", Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 40, no. 7, pp. 1063-1071.

IBISWorld 2019, "Sandwich Shops – Australia Industry Research Reports | IBISWorld",, viewed July 24 2019, <>.


Martinko, K 2014, "Subway's new campaign won't really teach kids about nutrition", TreeHugger, viewed July 24 2019, <>.

Montaner, T, de Chernatony, L & Buil, I 2011, "Consumer response to gift promotions", Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 101-110.

Morgan, R 2019, "McDonald’s, KFC & SUBWAY most visited Aussie restaurants", Roy Morgan, viewed July 25 2019, <>.

QSR 2019, "SUBWAY presses on with brand transformation by doubling down on provenance", QSR Media, viewed July 27 2019, <>.

Smith, W 1956, "Product Differentiation and Market Segmentation as Alternative Marketing Strategies", Journal of Marketing, vol. 21, no. 1, p. 3.

Sullivan, R 2017, "SUBWAY is trying to be fancy", NewsComAu, viewed July 25 2019, <>.

The Associated Press 2019, "Subway's Challenge: How to Erase Jared Fogle From Its Brand", NBC News, viewed July 24 2019, <>.

Thompson, J 2019, "BOGOFGO: how SUBWAY won hearts and minds on World Sandwich Day", Marketing Magazine, viewed July 27 2019, <>.

Zappone, C 2019, "McDonald's loses fast-food stores crown to Subway", The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed July 24 2019, <>.

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Dean Long | Expert in Growth MarketingHongxin(Dean) Long

Dean Long is a Sydney-based performance marketing and communication professional with expertise in paid search, paid social, affiliate, and digital advertising. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Systems and Management and is also a distinguished MBA graduate from Western Sydney University.

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