Where We Decide: The Exponential Impact Of Retail Creativity

In his recent book, How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer explores the "how" of decisions and shares new insights into the workings of our complex minds.

Brand marketers and creative agencies invest millions every year in understanding the "how" of the consumer decision process, but we also need to understand "where" those decisions get made.
Retailers and a growing number of manufacturers know that where we decide is integral to the consumer decision journey, and new data from POPAI -- the global association for marketing at retail -- strongly supports this position.
According to POPAI's research, the location of the creative message is vital to the creative strategy and the connection consumers feel when engaging with it. In its landmark Shopper Engagement Study, which examines supermarket buying habits, POPAI found that two-thirds of brand decisions are made in the grocery store.
At minimum, an understanding of the retail context has an exponential impact on the effectiveness of creativity and brand design.
The PepsiCo beverage and Frito-Lay snacks relationship is built on both corporate and sales harmony. Both brands share ownership, but they also share in-store programming, display designs and shopper strategies that drive attention and sales at retail.
Medium-sized brands that find new partnerships also benefit from strength in numbers to bolster the "where." Food brands and food container brands like Rubbermaid or Reynolds Wrap have the consumer need state of "leftovers" in common. Paper product manufacturers and cleaning supplies companies often sit side by side in high-value aisles, but fail to cross-merchandise their highly complementary goods.
Cereal and milk. Coffee and filters. Canned tomatoes and fresh avocados. These are but a few of the brands and products that share a "where" on the retail floor. By uncovering and recognizing the shared shopper mindsets in a category, retail becomes a high-value "where" that can propel incremental sales and incremental affinity. Innovative displays featuring paired products activate shoppers where they are often most receptive to new ideas: Inside the shopping channel.
Recently, the POPAI awards recognized brands having an impact on "where we decide." Beyond the classic triggers of shape and color, the judges this year awarded displays that showcased visual metaphors, where shoppers could quickly connect the dots.
In the Display of the Year category, Bath & Body Works picked up a gold award for a display that showcased new fragrance soaps in a fresh produce display, similar to one found in a high-end grocery. The retailer sought to capitalize on the new variety of its offering and the consumer desire to "hand pick" their favorites from a "produce case." The visual metaphor disrupted shoppers with color, shape, and a fresh interruption on their "where" path.
Too often, when "where" is an afterthought, marketers simply push messages to the forefront without considering the shopper need state. Even when incremental display space is at a premium, the considerations for "where we decide" in both visual composition and message strategy become vital tools for success.
Bath & Body understand the value of "where," and have gained power over manufacturers and brands with their proprietary basket data and knowledge of the shopper mindset. Packaged goods brands should follow their lead.
No agency or marketer working in packaged goods, household goods or any category sold at retail can afford to ignore the creative challenges of the channel or the "where" in designing ideas.
Mitch Joel, writing in the Harvard Business Review, points out: "Consumers are not the same when they're watching television as they are when they're on a smartphone. [or] when they are in a physical retail location. Each scenario, each consumer, each moment of engagement continues to look very different than the output of marketing messages that agencies have been responsible for to date. The brands that can create these many big ideas and be accountable for these many new forms of creative are destined for success."
Combining the traditional insights from the "how" with the new shopper insights of the "where" will ultimately give brands the 1+1=3 results they're seeking. Shifting investments of the total marketing spend to the in-store channel, where decisions get made, will drive strong results.



1 comment about "Where We Decide: The Exponential Impact Of Retail Creativity ".
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  1. Eric Daniel from FITCH, November 1, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.

    "Brand marketers and creative agencies invest millions every year in understanding the 'how' of the consumer decision process, but we also need to understand 'where' those decisions get made." I think that the question that's the most fruitful to answer is 'why' a consumer decides to buy. (And even more importantly, why they buy you.)

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