Posts tagged "transparency"

WILL SOCIAL CHANNEL SHIFTS DRIVE BRANDS TO GO DIRECT?

February 23rd, 2018 Posted by Agency Services, brand marketing, CMO, Content Marketing, Digital marketing, digital tools, food retail strategy, Food service, Social community, Social media, social media marketing 0 comments on “WILL SOCIAL CHANNEL SHIFTS DRIVE BRANDS TO GO DIRECT?”

Brands look to better manage their own destiny

As we’ve stated many times here at Emergent, the brand that gets closest to the customer wins. Yet a form of strategic separation now descending on the food marketing universe has made it more challenging for brands to manage how that consumer closeness is achieved. These same conditions help contribute to the collapse of traditional media marketing models (about scale and control) often deployed by legacy brands to build and maintain consumer relationships.

As a result, we believe what’s ahead for CPG food may well include a large helping of direct-to-consumer outreach efforts. E-commerce growth has already redefined the business landscape, giving consumers a comfort level with buying products from home.

Retail isn’t going away, online or off, but we think a measurable percentage of the business overall may indeed move to direct-to-consumer platforms.

Meantime escalating brand participation in the “walled garden” of rented audiences in major social channels, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, has also conveyed relationship control to these platform intermediaries. On any given day, the decisions made by these social media giants can be a good thing or bad as their policy changes impact what brands can and cannot do on their platforms.

  • Brands, now forced to reckon with the shift of business to e-commerce, are finding the complexity of cross channel marketing and online engagement has already worked to snuff out the last embers of mass media’s flame. Disappearing with mass media’s grip is the brand’s ability to efficiently leapfrog various forms of retail or other digital gatekeepers to capture consumer brand equity and preference.

Algorithm alarm bell – now what?

Food and beverage companies working to implement their brand-building strategies in social channels find themselves challenged once again, as the behemoth community aggregators like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube adjust algorithms and feed policies making it harder to organically scale audience attention and reach.

In January, the tide turned (the second time since 2016) as Facebook announced yet another round of changes that favor posts from friends and family while diminishing organic post distribution from brands and publishers. Larger, mega-influencers – who must use Pages rather than personal Facebook accounts – will face a similar audience squeeze.

More regulated content policies put greater pressure on brands in social channels to up their shareable post quality game. We believe though, these restrictive conditions will add more value to building direct consumer relationships. This means, thoughtfully reconsidering how best to connect with consumers and deploy tools that sit outside the control of social channel policy moves, through owned channels like Blogs and email (e-newsletter).

Consequently, we believe the model for food and beverage brand building may change in the next three to five years. Pepsico currently projects their annual e-commerce sales to be north of a $1 billion across direct, retailer-owned and pure play (Amazon) e-commerce channels.

Of note, many of the new and emerging brands now grabbing the marketing spotlight in food, got their start in the direct-to-consumer space, where they built a loyal fan following before venturing into retail channel distribution.

  • A classic example: in the personal care category, online brand Harry’s disrupted the legacy razor blade industry by answering consumer frustration over runaway price increases. They successfully constructed a direct-to-consumer subscription model that helped Harry’s deliver a more affordable, high-quality alternative. The new Harry’s brand story, alongside rival Dollar Shave Club, helped end Gillette’s dominance.

As consumer contentment with buying online continues to expand in adjacent businesses, Harry’s recently secured added equity investment to fund another bellwether expansion. This time into other personal care, household and baby products categories that may naturally fit into a subscription model.

Bottom line: selling directly allows the brand unfiltered and unfettered access to consumers. As such it enables a direct flow of conversation without the unexpected shifts that are occurring in third party social channels due to conflicting business interests and priorities.

Behavior changes occurring behind the curtain

We see the shift to e-commerce as an outcome of evolutionary progress – meaning anything that adds measurably to consumer convenience and satisfaction is going to get its day in the sun.

During the last decade consumers spent 12 percent less time shopping, according to Jared Koerten, senior food analyst with Euromonitor International. “Consumers are spending less time shopping (while) looking for efficiencies and ways to save time,” he said. The result is fewer conventional shopping trips while online ordering continues to accelerate.

E-commerce and the digital communications environment will continue to be a major focus of brand marketing strategies. Consumers see the value in reallocating their spare time from shopping trip to other passions and pursuits. Be that as it may, other changes are occurring in the digital universe that impact how closer consumer relationships are incubated.

Emergent’s guidance on optimizing social channel strategy:

  1. Social algorithm changes enhance the valuable role of smaller (nano) influencers and the content they create, while amplifying the need to ensure that influencer relationships are truly founded on aligned interests and subject matter relevance.
  2. Social channel policy changes that depress organic distribution and engagement will necessitate yet again, more pay-to-play activity to boost posts.
  3. There will be diversification of outreach strategies to include more investment in direct paths of communication through Blogs and email.
  4. Rise of User Generated Content as a key component of social media marketing strategy. This tactic helps sidestep the policy changes and hits the right notes on authenticity and value to brand community participants.
  5. In case you’re wondering what form of content ranks highest in shares on social channels: Infographics.

Social channel policy changes and the dynamics of e-commerce may favor a new look for brand marketing that leans in on going direct. With it comes great responsibility in how these interactions are managed – so it doesn’t appear to be just a transactional proposition.

Help over hype – always.

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Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, the healthy living agency. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies.  Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact Bob@Emergent-Comm.com and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

 

 

 

consumer preference

The Six Keys to Changing Consumer Behavior in Food Marketing

July 26th, 2016 Posted by brand marketing, Brand preference, Human behavior, retail brand relevance, shopper behavior, storytelling 0 comments on “The Six Keys to Changing Consumer Behavior in Food Marketing”
In the end, all forms of marketing for food and beverage brands and retailers have one underlying intention: to change minds and behaviors of those who might become committed brand fans and users.

Changing behaviors or opinions isn’t easy. To a certain extent the marketers’ belief is this: once confronted with the facts, people will see the wisdom of using our product or visiting our stores. But the truth of the matter is even in the face of compelling facts and reasonable reasons people often cling to their current habits and preferences.

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Mining the New Consumer Desire for Transparency

June 15th, 2016 Posted by Brand preference, Insight, retail brand relevance, shopper behavior, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Mining the New Consumer Desire for Transparency”
“Open the curtain and invite users in to see the inner workings of how you do what you do.”

For decades food and beverage brand images, personalities and perceptions were carefully cultivated – a form of theater presented with great care and skill. And always projected as the master brand storytellers wanted the impression to be shaped and nuanced.

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Media Attention

Avoiding the Epic Fail of Bad Earned Media Strategy

May 10th, 2016 Posted by brand marketing, Insight 0 comments on “Avoiding the Epic Fail of Bad Earned Media Strategy”

Earned media is not transactional so don’t manage it that way.

Earned media, otherwise known as publicity (or its inside baseball description as media placement), is often over estimated in its contribution to what is otherwise a content marketing driven world. Often misunderstood given publicity’s quirky, and at times, erratic media channel behavior – it is routinely under-leveraged due to misguided practices.

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Couple Cooking

8 Food Culture Trends Transforming the Food and Beverage Business

April 28th, 2016 Posted by food experiences, Food Trend, Insight, Retail brand building, retail brand relevance, shopper behavior, shopper experience, Supermarket strategy, Uncategorized 0 comments on “8 Food Culture Trends Transforming the Food and Beverage Business”
Here is a true statement about securing the right path to growth whether you’re running a food company or food retail business:

The future of food and beverage belongs to solution-based specialists whose business operates from a platform of deep consumer insight.

Relevance to lifestyle interests and behaviors is paramount. Achieving alignment and integration with the things people care about is vital. It’s no longer just what you make or sell as much as it is about your ability to be meaningful and to matter.

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Part 1: The Foodie-ization of America

October 19th, 2015 Posted by food experiences, Food Trend, Healthier habits, Healthy Living, Insight, shopper behavior, shopper experience, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Part 1: The Foodie-ization of America”

Once cooking and experience elevate, there’s no going back.

Study after study charts the migration of our food culture and parallel consumer behavior away from legacy packaged, processed foods and towards what is deemed ‘all things’ real and fresh. Consumers at one time may have been confronted with healthier in the form of addition by subtraction. Meaning that anything presented as good for you meant sacrificing something else – less sugar, fat, calories or salt. And, of course, the perception that down the pipe with the elimination of bad stuff so went good taste experiences.

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