When it comes to marketing food and beverage, there are many nuances to an effective program. However, I have found that there are two foundational cornerstones that every successful brand has in common: MENTAL and PHYSICAL AVAILABILITY. Do consumers know and remember you, when they are ready to purchase—and can they find you, in-store when they are looking.
Seems obvious, right? Basic marketing. But you would be amazed at how often these two basic fundamentals are either overlooked or taken for granted.
If consumers don’t know or remember your brand when they are on their path to purchase, then you aren’t even in the consideration process—you’re not in the game. One of the primary goals of your advertising is to continually refresh the consumer’s memory of your brand—to remind them about you. This drastically improves your chances of being recalled in the purchase cycle.
Recall is much easier with categories that are purchased frequently, because your brand can become a habit. A routine go-to item. Doesn’t mean they will buy your brand, but they are purchasing in the category every week.
But the truth is, most categories are not purchased as frequently as you would think, so memory plays a key role. For instance, consumers only purchase ketchup, on average, 4 times per year, potato chips 7 times, and cereal 21 times. Get it? There can be very large gaps in time between when consumers purchase these categories. And, remember, the other added dimension is that just because they purchase X times, doesn’t mean they’re buying the same brand. Sorry, but most consumers switch brands (I know that hurts, but it’s true. Loyalty is scarce in the CPG food and beverage world).
The other dilemma is…Are you on-shelf? When I walk the stores, monitoring the brands we represent, the experience drastically changes from store to store—even within the same banners. Consumers won’t spend time intently looking. If they can’t quickly and easily find your brand, they will move on.
And, what about new product launches, when you’re told product will be on-shelf by a certain date and it isn’t? Or even within the same chain, it’s on-shelf in some stores, but not others.
MENTAL and PHYSICAL AVAILABILITY are fundamental keys to the success of your brand. These are not once and done items you can check off your to-do list. They are part of your ongoing brand marketing and maintenance.
Don’t ever forget the basics.