THE BLOG

Why Brands Must Communicate From the Shelf Out

25/02/2014 10:44 GMT | Updated 26/04/2014 10:59 BST

Consumers consistently tell us that brands should provide clearer messaging from the supermarket shelf outwards, rather than relying on marketing to drive sales. I fully agree and believe many brands simply aren't doing enough to capture consumer imagination where it matters most - in store.

Historically advertising takes the lead in communicating the brand and raising awareness but as consumers get bombarded with these messages many are tuning out, thus increasing the importance of grabbing their attention when they are in store, rather than in front of their TVs.

Traditionally brands have taken a 'does what it says on the tin' approach to in-store presence, literally telling consumers what they do. However some are now engaging in conversation, clearly communicating the emotional benefits their products offer. For example, we know moisturiser will soften our skin but we will form a much deeper attachment if the packaging makes us feel that Olay will make us look younger.

Businesses need to identify their brand's assets - the unique DNA which sets it apart from the competition and ultimately will lead the consumer from the shelf to the tills. By doing so the most successful brands stand proud in store, visually and verbally communicating, 'This is what we are all about.' This is not an issue of simply taking up more shelf space - instead brands should focus on delivering a consistent, cohesive message from the shelf-out which ties in with their advertising.

Most shoppers roam the stores on auto-pilot, picking up items, particularly homogenous ones such as toilet roll and toothpaste, with little thought. Therefore it's essential brands grab attention and portray a compelling reason to purchase visually as the majority of us are simply too busy during our shopping mission to read.

More powerful brands use what we call the 'Krispy Kreme approach' developing a striking in-store presence to grab attention. We've implemented this thinking with the brand re-launch of Phileas Fogg snacks - the in-store message is striking, vibrant and consumers know that they are getting a product with, 'Exciting taste experiences from around the world' an emotion evoked visually on pack. From the shelf-out the product captures the consumer's attention, encouraging interaction and making purchase more likely.

As shoppers we have all become accustomed to buying on offer but what the most successful brands do is deliver a compelling story of brand benefit, through correctly identifying brand assets, to overpower the discount noise.

Above all brands must realise that it has never been more difficult to stand out from the competition. Consumers are both busy and savvy and firms must spend more time identifying their biggest brand assets and sweating them to create compelling stories in a bid to remain continually persuasive and successful in the long-term.