What do Brand Marketers do when their USP no longer drives sales?

By Ian Segail | Blog | 5 Nov 2019 |

Are you talking at rather than talking to your customers?

Over the last decade, marketing has been a decidedly one-way affair.

There’s been a mad scramble to grab at the consumer’s attention. Brand marketers have over used this means of communication. They have used all the media platforms available to them to broadcast their messages wider, louder, and further.

For too long brands have talked at the consumer, intruding into their lives. However, the consumer has matured and has become more discerning in their use and understanding of technology. The consumer has now learned to easily turn off and quickly tune out shouty, hypey, flashy intrusive ads and inauthentic content.

So… where do brand marketers go and what should they do to gain consumer attention?

An ocean of opportunity

When it comes to brand marketing, a new playing field is emerging. There are “Blue Ocean” marketing opportunities awaiting the savvy brand marketer who focuses on what consumers want. The opportunity lies in brand marketers speaking to consumers and learning how they want their messaging.

Today’s consumer is looking for:

  • Advice
  • Information
  • Stories
  • Risk reduction
  • Connection
  • Engagement and sometimes entertainment.

All of these wants require a different marketing mindset.

NOTE: The old benefits of “better, faster, cheaper” are a given. They are taken for granted.

Talk to the consumer not at them

To offer the consumer what it is they are looking for today, requires a willingness for the marketer to TALK TO the consumer, rather than simply talk at them. Smart brand marketers are using their product packaging as an opportunity to talk to and engage directly with the consumer. Rather than simply having the loudest, shoutiest pack on the shelf, these marketers are using their product packaging to talk to and with the consumer. These marketers look at their product packaging differently.

Effective brand marketers see their product packaging as OWNED MEDIA and use their packaging strategically to drive consumer engagement. Smart brands are seeing their product packaging design as a means to begin and retain consumer brand loyalty. These brand marketers are using their packaging as a direct link to own the customer.

QUESTION: How can you use your pack and all it contains to forge a direct link with your consumer so you own the relationship, rather than them being loyal to the retailer?

Packaging is OWNED MEDIA

So why are smart brands embracing their product packaging as Owned media? (Owned media is defined as communication channels that are within one’s control, such as websites, blogs, social channels or product packaging).

The goal for most savvy brand marketers is to convert their Owned media into Earned media. To do this requires share-ability via mentions, shares, re-posts and product reviews.

Product packaging is one of the most overlooked and underutilized Owned mediums for engaging with, and converting to Earned media.

Share-ability and engagement example

My daughter was inspired to put Thank You’s Apple and Apricot Cluster’s cereal into our weekly grocery shopping trolley. As a result we were treated to a prime example of a Brand interacting and engaging with their consumer. We saw a brand talking to and and with her rather that talking at her. Here’s how they used their product pack to convert Owned media into Earned media.

“Hey! Check this out!”

Having prepared her “dish” of breakfast cereal with yogurt, blueberries and bananas and a strawberry slice with the leaf on as garnish, my daughter took a series of photo’s of her breakfast plate and posted them on Instagram. Within 3 to 4 minutes she received a message back from Thank You complimenting her on her photography and breakfast cereal presentation. To which she braggingly then re-posted to all her contacts on her Snap-chat and Facebook. Here’s the thing…Whether it was a real person or an automated AI message, she didn’t care. Thank You was speaking TO her, not AT her.

The Process.

Step 1 –  Create a pack worthy enough to engage the consumer at the shelf. (see the blog post: Creating WOW packaging)

Step 2 – Create enough reason for the consumer to put the pack in the trolley.

Step 3 – Ensure a quality, tasty product.

Step 4 – Build share-ability into the packaging design

Step 5 – Engage with and encourage the sharer to do further sharing

Step 6 – Repeat the process

In conclusion

Product packaging is now considered to be Owned media.

Most FMCG marketers are not optimizing this opportunity which leaves the door open for those marketers who are willing to look at, not just the look and feel of their packs and whether or not they meet brand guidelines, but rather how can these awesome marketing tools be used to engage the consumer. This means that product packaging found on the retail shelf must therefore be considered with as much strategic importance as a company website or social presence. When seen from this vantage point, product packaging on shelf can now take up a centerfold position and become the hero in your marketing mix.

So start taking to rather than talking at your customer. Build a product packaging strategy that goes beyond the retail shelf.

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