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The shelf is the last line of defence in the war on sugar / Anthony Earley, Director, Lick Creative

by on June 28, 2016 in Business, Latest News, Lead Article

The shelf is the last line of defence in the war on sugar / Anthony Earley, Director, Lick Creative

Anthony Earley, Director, Lick Creative

The ‘war on sugar’ has been building momentum for some time, but Osborne’s Budget announcement of a tax on sugary drinks has propelled the issue forward.

Inevitably, questions about food brands are now starting to emerge, and the statement made by Mars last week – that some products shouldn’t be eaten more than once a week due to high sugar and salt content – was a bold but clever move that starts to scratch the surface of the myriad issues the FMCG industry as a whole will need to tackle, and soon.

While we await official government reports on the issue, marketers are being constantly tasked with keeping their brands ahead of public opinion. Amplifying intrinsic nutritional values as part of a commitment to help people make informed choices is fast becoming fundamental here. Whilst only one part of the complex obesity issue, brands have to be seen to act, and respond with messages that are unified consistently through the line. Strategically, the direction may be to rename or reformulate existing products (as Coke Zero announced it would be), introduce new variants, or create new product lines.

Whatever route brands choose to take, marketing teams will be required to identify innovative ways which educate and connect with consumers across all touchpoints.

Creating a consistent brand voice starts outside of the supermarket’s four walls, but it’s vital that marketers focus on how this translates through to when customers arrive to shop. Whilst time will be taken to develop new brand concepts that resonate, the shelf is the last place where the purchase decision can be influenced.

With the in-store space becoming ever more competitive, brands will be fighting for consumer attention and must move quickly, particularly given that some of the leading brands have already gained first mover advantage. Eye-catching creative, consistent with broader advertising and marketing activity across channels, will need to be at the forefront of any response, as well as the introduction of impactful and innovative solutions in-store to improve shelf standout.

At the same time, the in-store landscape itself is in the crosshairs, with Public Health England pushing for bans on certain types of in-store promotions, which could see restrictions to end of aisle displays and BOGOF deals. Marketers must again start thinking creatively about what they can do in-store to ensure that they retain or gain market share.

Solutions that encompass technology and creative displays, whether that’s digital interactive display screens or Near Field Communication technology are good starting points that can be implemented and installed quickly to effectively communicate new messages. By disrupting the experience for customers, messages will almost immediately reach shoppers at the right point in the journey – and increase the chances of products going from aisle to basket. It’s vital, however, that these techniques are deployed as part of a much wider long-term plan based on strong creative concepts, which engage with connected customers in the retail space.

The grocery landscape, which is already extremely competitive, will see the bar raised over the next few years as a result of this agitation. Whilst creating a consistent plan across all touchpoints is vital, there’s no one size fits all approach, and marketers will find that the bespoke techniques they use in-store will be vital if they are to succeed at the moment of purchase.

Anthony Earley, Director, Lick Creative

 

Graphics by Shutterstock

 

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