An inside view on how brands can use activation to sell more
20 May 2021
Author: Mark Fraser
Now as we face into a more normal summer than that of 2020, brands need to start thinking about how they’re going to plan their activation, not just for the summer months, but for the seasonal periods beyond summer and right into 2022.
With this in mind, we were keen to talk with someone who has helped many brands across the sector with their tactical activation plans throughout lockdown. So, we chatted to Chris Huke, Activation Account Manager, about how brands can use tactical activation to sell more this summer and beyond.
We asked him four questions:
- How important is it for brands to plan their seasonal activities now for the rest of the year?
- Aside from social distancing, are there any other changes that have taken place in the retail environment over the last year that you think will have an impact into the summer and beyond?
- What do brands have to do to entice consumers back into store and how can field marketing agencies help with that?
- If you could tell brands to do one thing to win this summer, what would it be?
Read on to get his expert insight.
How important is it for brands to plan their seasonal activities now for the rest of the year?
Chris comments, “It’s really important. As we move into the summer months, which are going to be vastly different to last summer, there’s a real opportunity for brands to start thinking about how they activate their products in store to maximise what hopefully is going to be a more normal summer season. With staycations potentially becoming huge alongside that summer rush, planning your summer months now is a great idea for brands and retailers - they should be thinking about how to get their products into the right location in stores now for the upcoming peak seasons.
But you can’t just stop at the summer. Whilst brands are talking to retailers about what they can do to activate their products in the summer, they should also think about what that looks like for the rest of the year:
Can you take that momentum from the summer into any of the seasonal events that happen post summer but before Christmas, like Halloween, Bonfire Night etc? How do you get your products into the consumer eyeline so that they’re purchasing your products during other seasonal peaks? And if you're planning that seasonal sort of activation to roll from each event onto the next one, you need to be thinking about how you can lockdown that space in retailers for the rest of the year.
Brands can do that by giving something fresh and something new to their customers or to the consumer on a regular basis. So, it's really important that seasonal activation is front of mind for brands right now because it is an ever-changing world, and who knows what the autumn could bring with potential future lockdowns.
We hope we don't have that situation, but with the potential for a third wave, brands need to maximise the opportunities they have whilst they can.”
Aside from social distancing, are there any other changes that have taken place in the retail environment over the last year that you think will have an impact into the summer and beyond?
“Yeah, absolutely. Social distancing has really impacted the way the High Street and supermarkets operate, but I think, certainly from clients that I work with on a regular basis, one of the biggest challenges that they had to look at and overcome is the use of product testers and sampling. Gone are the days of being able to walk into your supermarket and try the new cheese that's been launched, or try the new makeup brands that that's trending because testers have been removed and hands on sampling has disappeared from the retail environment.
That's probably not going to come back quickly. So, brands must think about what they do differently to bring to life their products from a testing point of view. And I know, using Coty as an example, they have really thought about the use of QR codes and technology to enable consumers to sample what their new make-up would look like. Consumers use QR codes to upload a photo of themselves and then their app puts that makeup on the photo of that individual so they can effectively test the product.
Also, speaking from experience, a few weeks ago I got a new pair of glasses and one of the things that my optician was able to do was actually take my photo and use that to try different glasses frames on me. So, I think use of technology to unlock sampling or product testing is something that will be with us for a long time. I think it will evolve significantly to include things like Augmented and Virtual Reality, such as using an app to place a sofa within your house to see what it might look like before you buy and things like that.”
What do brands have to do to entice consumers back into store and how can outsourced resource agencies help with that?
If brands can plan correctly and get their products in the right location, then availability is one of the key things they will have to get right in order to make sure they drive sales throughout the year, particularly with the unlocking of the summer months. Field sales agencies can help brands entice consumers back into stores by making sure that products are always in the right location in stores.
That means utilising the space at their disposal to drive sales, and to drive additional incremental display space by negotiating with stores at a local level.
I also think that, particularly with non-essential retail opening, agencies can really help brands out by using crowd resourcing to help brands see what consumers are seeing across a broad spectrum of retailers.
Even with our biggest clients, we still only cover around 80% of stores across any call file, so what happens to those smaller stores we don’t regularly visit? By using crowd to access stores that field sales teams don’t visit regularly, brands can see what consumers are seeing, and then can they think about can then think about what they need to do to get their products onto more promotional space and into more consumer’s eyelines. A field sales agency can help brands do this with ease and really assist them in figuring out what they can do to entice consumers back regularly.
If you could tell brands to do one thing to win this summer, what would it be?
I would say be bold and adventurous in your marketing strategy and think about how your marketing campaign can make you stand out from the crowd. Now that restrictions are easing, people want to go out and spend again. They want to buy the new big thing. Brands need to get their products in front of people and market them well in order to get that brand or that product onto the consumer’s radar.
We’ve all spent so long doing online retailing, but now that we can go out there and be adventurous again consumers will also want to be adventurous in what they’re purchasing.”
We’d like to thank Chris for taking the time to answer our questions.
Brands really need to be thinking about booking in their activation now for summer and the rest of the year so that they can help retailers and consumers as we emerge out of lockdown and return back to normality.
Is your brand ready to smash its targets this year?
That’s the key question, and with that in mind our next webinar will be focused on how brands can sell more and smash their targets during every seasonal peak in 2021. Join us as our Strategy and Marketing Director, Gordon Neil gives his hints and tips on how brands can prepare for a more normal year ahead, and how to make the most of the selling opportunities that are arising for brands.