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More Messaging Is Probably Less Communication!

By Dipanjan Mukherjee | May 07, 2015

A shopper's behaviour alters across various touchpoints within a store. And the key to a successful brand campaign lies in creating the right message at the right touchpoint, says Ritika Verma, Senior Shopper Planner, Geometry Global - Singapore.


Successful communication is not just about what message to send, but also what the receiver ultimately received. And hence, tailoring the message to the receivers' needs is extremely important, especially at hyper and supermarkets.
 
As marketers, the most common mistake is to fall in love with a brand's product story and bombard the shopper with everything we have to say about a product in every piece of communication we put in the store. We believe the campaign's success hinges on how much and how loud we shout.

The right message

We forget that shoppers are in a different frame of mind when they are at the store. They are on a mission, with a shopping list, various pre-set considerations, and even certain pre-conceived notions about a brand. Inundating them with our brand's entire product story will lead them to filter out parts of the message, ignoring or switching off completely.
 
To create effective shopper communication we need to have a deep understanding of shopper behaviour in-store. We need to understand their motivations, considerations and attention spans from the time they enter the store, to the time they are in the category space, and ultimately at the cash counter, creating relevant messages at each stage.

This will result in greater in-take and impact. Compare it to being on a date - what you talk about on the first date is considerably different from, say, the third.
 
So how can a brand's product story be effectively narrated across the different touchpoints in-store?

By being mindful of the shoppers' behaviour in-store.
 
Attract at entrance

When shoppers enter the store, they are usually trying to find their way or navigating to a specific category aisle. At this stage, they are likely to be considering purchasing other brands and products in other categories or worse they might not even be interested in purchasing products from the category your brand is present in. At this touchpoint, brands should focus on visibility and creating a strong attention hook whether visual or textual. The communication would need to be more visually disruptive with simple and concise messaging. Its main objective is to attract shoppers' attention and open them up to further communication.
 
Engage at category

When shoppers enter a particular category with the aim of buying a product from that category, the communication challenge is different. In most categories, shoppers have a brand consideration set, and are deciding to choose from that. Their aim is to find the right product for themselves and therefore, there is a chance they are willing to hear another brand's product story. It is important for the brand to talk about the story of how the product is different from others, at the respective touchpoints in the particular category. This allows shoppers to understand why they should re-consider your product over another. We can engage with the shopper by bringing the point of differentiation to life through functional or emotive messaging.
 
Motivate at shelf

Now if the shopper has shown interest and has engaged with the brand, they will move towards the product shelf where they will make their final decision. At this point in the journey, they are already involved and invested in your brand and want to know more about the product and to be assured that they are making the right purchase decision. This would be a good place to share more on the product story, motivating them to purchase with product efficacy, ingredient stories, and even value messages. Highlighting shopper promotions or offers at this stage will tilt the scale in favour of your brand. Remember, this is the real test and the time to close the deal.
 
On a concluding note, shopper marketers should not be repeating the brands entire product story across all points of communication, as shopper behaviour varies across the in-store shopper journey. We need to choose selected touchpoints that are most critical to our target shopper in-store to deliver effective and relevant messages!
 
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