Top of the list of tasks for winning with shoppers, is navigating your retail customer landscape and disarming the buyers’ potential battery of barriers!

We have outlined some planning tips to help you with this, which start with securing an understanding of your audiences; shoppers, consumers, trade and sales.

Map the shopper journeys

How well do you know your audience? Plot their path to purchase, based on relevant scenarios. Identify the media and channels that hold the most influence within their journeys. Plot your messaging, with changes based on time and place. Demonstrate how your engagement plan for their path to purchase, offers value to the shopper and promises to deliver sales for the retailer.

Show category insight and value

Whilst you are the absolute expert on your brand, the focus for the retail buyers is the wider category. Lead your conversations with a rationale as to why your brand is the best news!  Help them understand how your brand fits, in terms of its importance and role in the category. Show how it will add value and pave the way for a big pat on the back for the category manager! This is how you will establish the position of true category leader.

Define innovation

Evaluate innovation plans for your brand in terms of how they will impact – and critically benefit – the category. However you choose to shape your innovation strategy, whether it is about product ingredients, packaging, formats, media or consumption occasions, ensure that your retail customers are aware of the drive, ambition and commitment you have put behind your great ideas.

Brand partnerships

Identify brands that are complementary to yours and find out what they are doing within the retail space. They are likely to be facing similar challenges to you, so reach out to them and consider forming a mutually beneficial partnership. This could provide both parties with an opportunity to add value beyond your categories and demonstrate incremental shopping spend to the retailers.

Tailor your brand activation

All retailers want exclusivity and to feel loved by your brand. So make them feel that way. Create an overarching campaign that becomes activated uniquely for each different account. Consider offers, competitions and POS which will differentiate your activation plans and allow you to refer to them using terms such as ‘exclusive’, ‘bespoke’ and ‘tailormade’ to make the buyers feel like you have given them special treatment.

Head office activation

To show your absolute commitment to your retail customer, launch your campaign at the buyer’s head office. It can be surprisingly easy to arrange and cost effective too. It will also serve to raise his/her profile internally of course.

Get your sales team onside

If you are a large enough business to have a sales team to front your retail accounts, those managers hold the key to your success. Their engagement with your activation plans is critical, so treat your sales team as a fourth audience – take them on the creative journey with you – understand the restrictions they have to work with and their frustrations. You will then be in a position to empower them with tools to unlock distribution opportunity and incremental feature space instore. Some of the most effective brand activation we have worked on has come out of brainstorms that involved sales teams. Additional benefits of doing this, are the demonstration of respect it shows for them and the sense of dedication to the campaign that it instils in them.

Whilst this guide is by no means finite, we hope that you find it useful. The passion, intelligence and experience we have to offer comes without big price tags, so talk to us about any challenges you have that you would like some help to address. Please email bryony@grandc.co.uk or call us on 020 8546 0150.