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Branding company news

FMCG brand lessons from 2013

Michael Wood, co-founder and director of Aperio, a business consulting company focused on accelerating growth of FMCG brands in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, looks back on 2013 to identify key learnings for brands.
Brands must find the "emotional" benefit to connect with consumers

Many international and local brands make the mistake of their marketing and promotional campaigns not being relevant to consumers.
  • The best ideas are the simplest because they can get executed. There is only one strategy that counts and that is the one you execute.
  • Brands need to ensure they deliver on functional benefits versus competition, but there is strong evidence that brands that have a superior emotional benefit to competition build a stronger relationship with consumers.
  • Brands who demonstrate strong emotional benefits usually can charge a premium over those who rely only on functional benefits.
Shoppers dictate manufacturers' and retailers' future

In a world where shopper and consumer behaviour is proving to be very difficult to predict, it is becoming increasingly difficult to market effectively and more efficiently to consumers. As manufacturers' aim is to sell more product to more shoppers more often at a profit, retailers want more feet in their stores, bigger basket spend, healthy category margins and shopper loyalty. Retailers and manufacturers must combine their efforts to understand the segment that dictates both their futures - the shopper.

Changing shopper behaviour at the point of purchase in favour of your product requires a new way of thinking and marketing. An integrated marketing approach is required where customer, brand, trade and shopper marketing teams deliver on the shopper's emotional and functional needs at the point of purchase in one seamless strategy: Shopper Marketing provides the route map for such a strategy.

Consumer trial and sampling

The success of consumer trial and sampling campaigns requires having a very clear understanding of what the trial barriers are and developing your marketing plan around identified trial drivers. Drivers such as life changing moments or emotional times; aspirational events; in-store sampling to influence purchase intent; influencer programmes and request-based sampling are examples of where sampling can be effective.

Private label brands are the biggest threat to FMCG companies

Private label brands are no longer a cheap alternative to the FMCG category, they have evolved into exclusive trusted brands that retailers have created, which keep consumers returning to their stores. As a result private labelling has become a major threat to FMCG brands that now have to differentiate their brand benefits even more strongly.

One of the biggest trends is for private label brands to become indistinguishable from traditional brands.

Marketers have to provide a more relevant benefit and differentiate this benefit very strongly in their communications if they are to compete.
  • Innovation. Brands must continually innovate based on their consumer needs to build trust and keep their consumers loyal. Brands that bring news about innovation will retain their base.
  • Value for money. You have to offer value for money to compete against private label brands. Brands also need to ask how they can add real value to the shopper.
  • Own consumer insights. If you understand your consumers you can target them in store more powerfully. This includes cross purchasing opportunities derived by analysing in-store consumer data; understand what is in the consideration set of a consumer and find ways to get into their consideration set. Marketers must answer the questions 'How can I find opportunities to sample? What do consumers like me to do? How can I win them over?' to strongly differentiate themselves to win in store.
The township shopper

Reaching the illusive township shopper is high on the agenda of most FMCG companies that want to tap into the buying power of South Africans in some 43 major metro townships.

Many FMCG companies have failed to reach the township shopper effectively due to the assumption that the same rules apply in townships as they do with traditional urban shopping.
  • Marketers must challenge and test their assumptions about township shoppers if they are to be successful.
  • A proper understanding is required of the shopper's needs when they are in shopping mode.
  • Understanding the township shopper goes much deeper and requires a re-examination of culture, lifestyle, consumption trends, occasions and influencers of choice as well as their drivers of consideration when shopping.
  • Reliance on formal retail and formal wholesale to reach the emerging market, will not necessarily ensure success.
  • The answer lies in mapping, tiering and targeting the retail environment which provides FMCG companies with an effective coverage area and a better return on investment.


About Michael Wood

Michael Wood is co-founder and Director of Aperio, a business consulting company focused on the FMCG space in South and Sub Saharan Africa. Michael has many years international experience where he held the positions of Marketing Director, Sales Director & Managing Director with the Gillette company and Procter & Gamble.

    Aperio's press office

    Aperio is a business consulting company focused on accelerating growth of FMCG brands in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. We understand the challenges FMCG businesses have on a day-to-day basis and guide multi-national companies to achieve greater results in the region.
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