Thinking Inside the Box: It's time to invite the family to the circus!

March 29, 2012
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There has been so much focus lately on private label that I am really excited. From the forums, to the conferences, to marketing ideas seen around the world in stores, to reports from the various international data slicers, to even my regular visits to supermarkets to do my weekly grocery shopping. There seems to be quite the buzz out there.


There has been so much focus lately on private label that I am really excited. From the forums, to the conferences, to marketing ideas seen around the world in stores, to reports from the various international data slicers, to even my regular visits to supermarkets to do my weekly grocery shopping. There seems to be quite the buzz out there.
I wonder what’s happening? For sure we’re in serious economic difficulties in almost every corner of the world. For sure there is climactic difficulty in nearly every corner of the world, from water shortage to floods, from no wind to hurricanes, from too hot to too cold. There’s C-suite shakeup and exec search in many companies from investment banks to high-tech enterprises, from the corridors of power to the corridors of court buildings.
But at the same time, there is some tectonic plate shifting on the shelves of some of the great private label retailers around the globe. Redesigning Select in Australia, new Premium brand at Walmart in Chile and Canada, new exclusive PL brands at Tesco, and new Black Label at Loblaws in Canada. WOW!
I cannot believe the excitement out there. And about time too, I say. But then I come back to reality and wonder why I am not seeing some reaction in the sales numbers. They are going up, yes! But creeping so slowly. The efforts in stores somehow do not quite match the excitement and buzz one sees around. So what to do?
I went to the latest Cirque du Soleil offering in the big tent last week in Toronto. I go to as many of their shows as I can. I am a real devotee. Still haven’t seen “O” yet in Vegas. But then, I still think the launch of Safeway’s “O” was the best launch of the best package I have ever seen in private label. Anywhere.
But sitting under the big top of Cirque brought me to thinking about the in-store execution of all of these wonderful new products, brands and packages. I am certainly not the average customer. I am not a coupon clipper trying to get the best deal on Tide this week. I am looking for new, exciting PL ideas when I visit stores. And as I tour around, I am thinking all the time of the circus. Maybe you should all go and see a Cirque offering next week and get inspired, either in the tent, or on YouTube. We all need to make much more of the opportunity to make a splash. It should be Super Bowl fever every month in stores. Not for Coke and Frito-Lay. But for your own house brands.
You spend so much money on your product development and sourcing processes, so much money on the packaging and the quality assurance. You drive vendors to innovate and develop. It’s time to build that tent right in your own parking lot. And time to get every family that shops anywhere near you to come to your circus. You’re the ringmaster, you own the tent. You have paid the performers. Now it’s time to put on the show.
Till next time.
 
Tom Stephens is the founder of Brand Strategy Consultants, North York, Ontario. He can be reached at 416-391-1635 or VOIP him at: Vonage 416-907-9848 or Skype at stephenscrimson, or e-mail at tomstephens@brandstrategyconsultants.ca Stephens says thinking “inside the box” is often appropriate, since answers to 90 percent of retail problems can be found inside the four walls of the store.

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