How to grow your brands- physical availability

Over the past months I have been describing the background research to marketing’s new research-based paradigm. And last week i described how to grow through increasing mental availability- by creating a compelling expectation in the mind of the consumer.

Now, I’ll describe HOW you can use these insights to grow your brands and your business by winning the in-store battle, the battle for the shoppers basket thus delivering a compelling experience.

Mental and Physical availability

Simply put… when you look at the data, what works in branding is surprisingly simple – making your brand easy to buy – by maximising it’s physical availability and creating an attractive and memorable set of distinctive brand assets-  sensory and semantic cues such as colours, packaging, logo, design, taglines and celebrity endorsements – that make the brand easy to like, memorise and recall at point of purchase. Successful brands build a compelling expectation in the minds of their consumers and then deliver an experience that matches or exceeds that expectation.

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Thus the secret to growing your brand is to build ‘market-based assets’ and these come in two types – maximised distribution (physical availability) which we will review this week – and as discussed last week, clear and distinctive branding using sensory cues (colours, logo, design…) that are easy to remember and recall.  The real challenge of marketing is all about availability – available in the mind and on the shelves.

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Again, I’ll use the example of Oreo’s in China. Last week we looked at how Oreos developed a powerful expectation in the minds of Chinese consumers. But they also had to deliver an experience equal or greater than that expectation.

The simplest example I have why Oreo’s was big in the US is simply because Oreos are available for purchase, everywhere.  If there is room for only one snack- its usually the number one brand-Oreo- and this availability reinforces Oreo’s stature just by being available.

Be PRESENT. Woody Allen said 80% of life’s success was in turing up- and 100% of a brand’s purchase is based on being stocked. If you brand isn’t stocked, it won’t be sold. The basis on growing your brand is in growing your distribution. No distribution, no sale. And son’t just hope you can sell more in your niche distribution- you won’t. To grow you must have growing availability. Take your current distribution, identity the 20, 200, 2000 biggest outlets that don’t stock you, and get stocked.  Earlier in this series we debunked the Pareto law in marketing- that 80% of sales come from 20% of consumers.  The simple fact is that this debunking of Pareto works in outlet targetting as well. Your top 20% of outlet probably sell around 50% of your stock, and the next 30% biggest add an extra 30%… so you must be available in a minimum of 50% of outlets to sell 80% of your potential… illustrated below.

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Then you can identify the relevant territories to focus your distribution growth.

 

oreos2For Oreo’s the cheap to produce 12 or 24 pack was simply too big and too expensive to be available everywhere. So the simple expedient in making a smaller pack enabled them to increase availability.

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Be RELEVANT. Once you are stocked, ensure you are present in a relevant way- relevant packaging, relevant product formulation, relevant price. Relevant to whom? To the shopper who frequents the outlet in question.  we saw a large pack was simply irrelevant to the Chinese consumer with a limited wallet seeking a quick snack for today. So a smaller pack achieve this. But more significantly, where the snack category in China was dominated by wafers, Oreo’s formulation of a wafer was critical

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Unlike the USA, CNY celebrations and gifting is a big part of life. so Oreo’s created a gifting pack relevant to the occasion

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Be PROMINENT. If 80% of the battle is being present, the rest is in being seen… some retailers are really cluttered because they have a cluttered outlet- find a way to stand out amongst the clutter- situational clutter.

Prominence situational clutter

Some places are cluttered because there’s a lot on sale in an organised and competitive way… stand out here, in a different way.

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Final step is creating the experience is performance.

In terms of the final taste of Oreo’s we saw a change in flavour to less sweet. Also Oreos developed a range of flavours more attuned to the Chinese palette, and so to raise interest in the brand. They also introduced wafters, the dominant style in the sweet snack category and also a wafer straw.

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Performance.  Its only after purchase that a consumer can really tell if your product has delivered on the consumers expectations. So in the end the performance of your product against the expectations you have set will either add to or detract from the brand. And in this insight lies something more valuable… that consumer experience of your product really drives their attitudes to your brand. This approach is borne out by research on the attitudes of consumers towards brands. the really positive attitudes only come from those consumers who have actually used your brand or product.

And if you are able to do this whole process well, and incorporate delivering on the EXPERIENCE that you have set in the consumers mind when you Created an EXPECTATION then you will be able to increase penetration and sustainably grow.

Finally we come to the purchase TRIGGER.

We consumers rarely make decision unless we have to. Im sure you’ve window shopped, looking around seeing what’s available. To get this consumer who is merely browsing to actually buy you need a trigger… something to crystallise a decision in their mind.  Typically such triggers make the buying process EASIER… a Trigger can reduce the price, or can offer an extra bonus increasing your perception of value. A Trigger could be making a product more visible in a display. You could also have a staff incentive in place to assist staff members persuade consumers to choose you, or you could provide more or better information about your brand so the staff member becomes a convincing advocate. All of these steps are focused on making choices easier for consumers.

So summarising, imply put, the real challenge of marketing is all about availability – being available in the mind and on the shelves. What works in branding is surprisingly simple – making your brand easy to buy – by maximising it’s physical availability and creating an attractive and memorable set of distinctive brand assets-  sensory and semantic cues such as colours, packaging, logo, design, taglines and celebrity endorsements – that create a compelling expectation, make the brand easy to like, memorise and recall at point of purchase. And finally ensuring an appropriate trigger is in place to assist consumers make a decision.

Ok, get to it and grow.