Build a personal relationship with the consumer

The CPG industry has a deeply personal relationship with the consumers it serves. We put these products in us, on us and around us. We have them in the pantries, medicine cabinets, laundry rooms and garages of our homes. And we interact with them, on average, 42 times a day.

That’s 42 moments to develop a relationship per consumer, per day. I would say that there is no other industry that has this level of commitment – and responsibility – to consumers. He points out that CPG brands don’t just sell a product, they create a connection with the consumer.

There are many ways to connect with consumers, but let’s focus on three that stood out at the CPG Summit: personal connection; digital connection; direct connection.

Allow your brand to become personal

At the CPG Summit, poet Sekou Andrews said, “If you want to transform, transform from a what to a why. Transform from an expert into an experience.

You can list all the attributes of the product (good taste, less filler) but that’s the “what”. It’s your expertise. Give your brand permission, as Andrews shared, to remember your purpose and connect with consumers.

His advice for connecting? Humanize yourself and remember that it’s okay to be personal. While you can’t strike up a conversation with every consumer in the store aisle, you can humanize your brand. Many CPGs use it to good effect. I’m immediately reminded of P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” Olympic campaign and how personal and meaningful it was to me, a mother of two daughters. Halo’s adult ice cream promotion touched me because it was hilarious and gave the brand the personality I wanted to connect with. The list is long and the results speak for themselves.

Create a meaningful connection Keep an eye on the digital shelf

Shaping the personal relationship with consumers can happen in many places, including the digital space. Jason Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer of Publicis Groupe, better known as Retail Geek, tells connect with consumers by expanding touchpoints beyond “.com” and understanding how products appear on the digital shelf.

The physical product, for example, is worthless on a mobile phone. Is it big, small, liquid, powder, etc. ? Consumers cannot tell in the same way as in store. But contrary to popular belief, digital grocery is not regressing to the pre-pandemic average. That’s more than double, from 4% of pre-COVID sales to 11% today — and poised to grow.

CPGs need a good digital shelf to connect with consumers across the digital space, whether it’s anywhere from a retailer’s site to TikTok. “We’re still in the first inning and with retail media networks, we’re still taking batting practice,” Goldberg said.

But the early innings mean the opportunity is still wide open. Finding ways to give consumers a digital experience with your product can be a way to create meaningful connections – before it becomes the status quo.

Do not neglect the direct relationship

The CPG companies are not Nike or Apple. It’s easy to dismiss the direct-to-consumer option as nonsense for companies in the industry. But (and you knew there was a but), what if the opportunity – albeit smaller – created a lasting relationship with a loyal consumer who is more likely to be a brand evangelist?

Some CPG companies are very committed to this space and, in some cases, are buying players who started out as direct-to-consumer operations. Unilever spent $1 billion to acquire Dollar Shave Club, for example. But many have to start with the basics. And most CPGs haven’t told consumers what their URL is – the equivalent of retailers not sharing their websites 20 years ago. Sucharita Kodali, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, says, “If you want to connect with consumers, let them know where you are.

Goldberg, however, reminded that a consumer’s first capture doesn’t have to be your website, although it should be the center of gravity in the long run. “You don’t just want them to appear on your website, you want to bring them into your ecosystem.”

In short, whether on a personal, digital, or face-to-face level, businesses can start by connecting in a hundred small ways and grow the relationship.

This article features takeaways from the CPG Summit 2022, the premier gathering of industry leaders. The event is invite-only, but follow the Consumer Brands blog and #CPGSummit on Twitter for content that offers behind-the-curtain insight.

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About Alex S. Crone

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