Calling all entrepreneurs, business owners, and product innovators! In an uber-competitive market, standing out is more crucial than ever for the success of your consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand.
In this first in what will be a series of blogs, we will be taking you on a step-by-step journey on how to leverage the power of strategic branding, marketing, and advertising to influence retail buyers.
We will cover topics like understanding what makes the audience tick and developing strategic branding that digs deeper than just logos and packaging. We are also going to break down the core differences between the various types of strategies you need to implement and then, of course, walk you through all the ways you can reach your target audience through advertising.
This blog will serve as a 101 crash course, and each of the following will dig deeper into brand strategy topic-by-topic. So keep an eye out for more CPG marketing magic….
Ready to get started? Ok, whether you’re launching a new product or looking for new and innovative ways to drive results for your already-established brand, let’s dive into the core elements of marketing to help you swim in the right direction.
Understand the Buyer (Your Target Audience) and Their Unique Needs
In order to influence retail buyers, it’s crucial to understand the underlying factors that drive their purchasing decisions.
Purchase drivers are the wants and needs of retail buyers that can be used to influence purchase behavior. Understanding why a buyer orders a product both emotionally and rationally allows you to speak to those wants and needs in your marketing and advertising making a more significant connection.
Purchase drivers can typically be broken down into:
- Things they want to gain — such as market share or a unique product collection
- Things they want to save — such as time, risk or money
- Things they want to be — such as a category leader or an influential teammate
- Things they want to do — such as curate a product collection that attracts customers.
Buyers are often guided by a combination of emotional and rational triggers when making a purchase decision, so it’s important to explore both the psychological and pragmatic factors that influence those initial perceptions and ultimately their decisions.
That may seem intimidating, but it’s actually an easier process than you may think! Take a look at these examples of emotional and rational purchase drivers and how you can utilize them to your brand’s benefit.
Emotional Purchases Drivers
Identifying emotional purchase drivers requires a deep understanding of your target audience’s behavior, motivations, and the emotional aspects that influence purchasing decisions.
Here are some tips to help identify emotional purchase drivers:
- Conduct market research to gather data and insights about your target audience – in this case, the retailer and buyer.
- Develop detailed customer profiles to create a holistic understanding of your target audience.
- Use techniques like emotional mapping to identify the emotions associated with the buying journey.
- Study the buyer’s behavior patterns, such as purchase triggers, decision-making processes, and the role of emotions in driving those decisions.
- Segment your audience based on shared psychological traits, motivations, and aspirations. Identify emotional drivers that align with each segment’s needs, desires, and values.
- Make a list of desires and aspirations. Buyers want to invest in products that meet the trends and desires of their customer base. Identify the emotional needs your product fulfills, such as a sense of belonging, status, or personal fulfillment.
Rational Purchase Drivers
Identifying rational purchase drivers involves understanding the logical and practical factors that influence a person’s likelihood to use, promote, or find value in a product.
Here are some tips to help identify rational purchase drivers:
- Conduct an analysis of your product or service to determine its key features, specifications, benefits, and functionalities. Understand how these attributes align with the practical needs and requirements of your target audience.
- Ask questions about the specific factors buyers consider important when making purchase decisions, such as price, quality, durability, convenience, performance, or functionality .Many of these qualities are also important to the buyer’s target audience of consumers.
- Study your competitors and their offerings to identify the rational benefits they highlight.
- Look for expert opinions, industry certifications, or reviews from credible sources to validate the rational benefits of your product.
- Continuously gather customer or buyer feedback and analyze data on purchasing patterns, returns, or customer satisfaction to identify any rational factors that consistently drive purchase decisions.
Even the most remarkable product won’t sell if it goes unnoticed. To influence retail buyers, you need to enhance your brand’s visibility in the market. Consider the following strategies:
- Market Research
- Conduct thorough market research to understand your target audience’s demographics, geographics, interests, preferences, and behaviors.
- Identify where your audience and buyers spend their time and how they consume information, both online and offline.
- Utilize data analytics and consumer insights to inform your marketing and branding decisions.
- Online Visibility
- Consider the social media platforms that your audience uses and identify opportunities for them to interact with your brand, as well as how you can leverage these platforms to drive shoppers into retail stores. Buyers want their stores to become a part of your digital ecosystem..
- Plan for a strong website and/or landing page that showcases the value your product has to offer.
- Research the SEO keywords you want to focus on so you can optimize your web pages, social, and ads when the time is right.
- Identify online opportunities in your market where your brand could fill in any potential gaps in knowledge with educational content marketing that not only entertains but solves problems.
- Promotional Campaigns
- Develop creative promotional campaigns to generate buzz, increase visibility and drive store traffic. Leverage social media, influencers, and public relations to reach a wider audience.
- Engage in strategic partnerships or collaborations that align with your target market to expand your brand’s reach.
Develop a Brand that Goes Beyond Design
Developing a strong brand goes far beyond just logo and package design. It involves creating a unique brand personality and voice that resonates with your target audience. By building a brand with a unique character and using captivating storytelling, you can effectively stand out from competitors and engage with your audience.
Here are just a few areas where you can fine-tune and differentiate your brand.
- Character and Voice
Character and voice establish the tone for your brand. They give it a unique identity that helps convey your brand’s personality and makes emotional connections to consumers (and buyers). It’s the language, tone, and social presence that allow your customers to feel connected to your brand. Here are a few ways to select character and voice:
- Establish a distinct brand character that resonates with your target audience.
- Craft a brand voice that aligns with your brand’s character and company values.
- Ensure consistency in messaging across all touchpoints, but know that not all traits need equal emphasis in every communication. Depending on the platform, more weight may be given to one over another but the net takeaway should convey balance in character, professionalism, and your spirit.
- The Psychology of Color and Font
Did you know roughly 85% of consumers say that color is the main reason that they buy a product? Brand color psychology is about more than just associating a brand with its signature color. It’s about the feelings and emotions these colors inspire in us. And as you already know, emotions play a major role in how consumers behave. While the effect that colors have on our emotions differs from person to person based on gender, cultural context, personal experience, and neurological variances, there are some general guidelines you can use to select your colors.
When selecting colors and fonts that speak to your brand and audience, remember to:
- Explore the psychology of colors and how different hues evoke specific emotions. For example, warm colors like red and orange can convey energy and excitement, while cool colors like blue and green evoke calmness and trust. Choose colors that align with your brand’s personality and the emotional response you want to elicit.
- Establish a consistent color palette and font selection that aligns with your brand’s identity and values. Consistency creates a cohesive visual experience, fosters recognition, and helps build an emotional connection over time.
- Ensure there is enough contrast between your chosen colors and fonts to ensure readability and visual appeal. Contrast helps draw attention to important elements and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of your design.
- Consider Cultural Connotations: Be mindful of cultural connotations associated with certain colors and fonts. Colors and symbols can have different meanings and interpretations across cultures, so research and understand the cultural context of your target audience to avoid any miscommunications or misunderstandings.
- Balance Simplicity and Complexity: Strive for a balance between simplicity and complexity in your color and font choices. Simple and clean designs can convey a sense of elegance and sophistication, while more intricate designs may evoke a sense of creativity or playfulness. Consider the emotional tone you want to set and align your design accordingly.
- Ensure that the chosen colors and fonts meet accessibility guidelines, allowing your content to be inclusive and accessible to a broader audience. High contrast, legible fonts, and color combinations that accommodate color-blindness are important factors to consider.
- Understand how color and font choices impact consumer perception and utilize that information to ensure your product will garner the right attention.
Gone are the days of being “sold to.” Consumers today want to be part of the conversation by interacting with and using products from brands that speak to who they are. Here are some ways to leverage storytelling in your marketing:
- Narrate compelling stories that let retail buyers know how your product can enhance their customers’ lives, making them feel understood and connected to your brand.
- Harness the power of storytelling to create an emotional connection with buyers. Let them know how your brand can fit into their own story and address their needs. This will create a meaningful connection
- Craft a compelling brand narrative that communicates your values and purpose and showcases the journey, inspiration, or purpose behind your brand’s creation.
- Integrate authentic storytelling into marketing materials and packaging by including visual narratives and heritage stories.
- Create an emotional connection. Merchandise buyers want to see a product with a strong marketing angle. Craft messaging and brand experiences that resonate with buyers on an emotional level they can relay to their consumers.
Utilizing these three methods early on can help you create compelling merchandise branding that not only highlights your products but also serves as a powerful marketing tool that:
- Reflects Your Unique Character
- Stands Out
- Communicates Key Benefits
- Embraces Functionality and Convenience
Now it’s time to take your creativity to your strategy!
Use Strategy to Drive Results
Effectively marketing your brand to influence buyers requires careful strategy. Understanding the different types of strategies and their unique characteristics is essential to overall success. Let’s explore the strategies that play a crucial role in shaping your brand’s success.
- Brand Strategy
Brand strategy sets the foundation for your brand’s overall direction, providing a clear roadmap for creating distinctive and memorable design collateral. It’s the deliberate and purposeful process of developing observable and distinctive assets that connect with consumers. It’s who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be. It involves:
- Identifying your target audience, their needs, desires, interests, and preferences.
- Identifying your company’s mission, vision and values which are the core of your product.
- Differentiating your brand from competitors through storytelling color psychology, and fonts.
- Crafting a brand identity that encompasses your brand’s character, voice, and visual elements.
- Building brand equity and loyalty through consistent messaging and experiences.
- Marketing Strategy
The marketing strategy outlines all tactics that prompt your audience to take action. It brings together all other strategies and unifies the objectives into one incredible goal. An effective marketing strategy involves planning and implementing activities to promote your brand and products and can include:
- Identifying marketing channels and tactics to reach your target audience effectively.
- Developing messaging and positioning that align with your brand strategy including your Unique Selling Propositions (USP) and key messages.
- Creating a marketing plan and timeline that helps you plan and track all of the tactics and goals.
- Campaign Strategy
Campaign strategy centers around specific promotional initiatives to drive sales and brand awareness. It outlines campaign objectives, KPIs to measure against, channel integration, flight duration, and the messaging that will be used to connect with the audience for the specific campaign. It should encompass:
- Setting campaign objectives, budgets, and timelines.
- Designing compelling creative assets aligned with your brand identity.
- Selecting appropriate marketing channels to reach your target audience.
- Monitoring and analyzing campaign performance to optimize results.
By leveraging a well-defined brand strategy, an effective marketing strategy, and targeted campaign strategies, you can create a comprehensive approach to influencing merchandise buyers.
In the next section, we’ll explore some of the primary ways to advertise your product to reach your target audience and drive sales.
Advertising Your Product
Advertising plays a crucial role in promoting your product and reaching your target audience. To effectively advertise your product and influence sales, consider the following key elements:
Types of Ads
Understand the various types of ads available and choose the ones that align with your target audience and campaign objectives. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that buyers often ask how your marketing and advertising will help drive consumers into their stores. Some common ad types include:
- Print ads: Place advertisements in newspapers, magazines, or relevant publications and retail circulars.
- Digital ads: Utilize online platforms, such as display ads, social media ads, retail website ads, or search engine marketing.
- Video ads: Create engaging video content for platforms like YouTube, social media or television.
- Influencer marketing: Collaborate with influencers or industry experts to endorse your product.
- Audio ads: Engage listeners through online streaming platforms like podcasts and music apps or traditional radio.
Selecting the Right Channels
Identify the channels that your target audience frequents and utilize them effectively to maximize your advertising efforts. Consider the following factors:
- Online platforms: Choose social media platforms, websites, or apps that your target audience uses regularly.
- Traditional media: Determine if your audience engages with television, radio, or print media.
- Niche platforms: Explore specialized platforms or communities that cater specifically to your target audience.
- Determine your advertising budget and which channels will deliver the most ROI for your spend.
Measuring Results and Optimize
Implement tracking mechanisms and metrics to measure the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. Utilize these measurement techniques:
- Key performance indicators (KPIs): Define specific metrics, such as click-through rates, conversions, or reach, to evaluate campaign performance.
- Analytics tools: Utilize platforms like Google Analytics or social media insights to gather data and gain insights into user behavior.
- A/B testing: Experiment with different ad variations and measure the performance to optimize your advertising efforts.
- Adjust targeting parameters, messaging, and budgets strategically as needed.
By selecting the appropriate ad types, choosing the right channels, crafting compelling messages, and continuously optimizing your campaigns, you can effectively advertise your product and influence merchandise buyers. Remember, the key is to stay informed about your target audience’s preferences and adapt your advertising strategies accordingly.
Stand Out by Moving Forward
By implementing the strategies outlined in this step-by-step guide, you can effectively influence retail buyers and make your brand stand out in the market. Understanding the needs of your target audience, developing a compelling brand, and leveraging effective advertising strategies will enable you to create a lasting impact.
As we continue our blog series, we’ll take a deeper dive into topics like branding that breaks through, optimizing package design, strategies to move inventory, and advertising, all while offering valuable tips on how to ensure your product will stand out in the market. So be sure to stay tuned for our next blog!
fishbat is a CPG marketing agency specializing in improving visibility, impact, and bottom line for our partners. We have worked with a wide variety of CPG brands across different product categories, from food and beverage to home goods and beyond, each with its own unique set of goals and challenges.
If you’re ready to see the impact strategic CPG marketing can make for your brand, contact us today!