I’m sure many of us have the guilty pleasure of watching the reality TV talent shows such as X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. As these shows have now been running for so many years, standing out as an artist has become increasingly difficult. We see so many singers and dancers on our screens, we will only remember the ones that catch our eye with something different (good or bad!)
Compare this to products on our shelves. We shop so frequently and habitually, loading the same products into our baskets week after week. Shoppers tell us they are looking for something new, the X Factor if you like; but like those talented contestants, most of the new products we launch as an industry fail to get noticed and are never purchased.
So how DO we get our products and brands to stand out in-store? The lessons from reality TV can probably help us…
1. A back story
Anyone who has watched any reality TV will know how much the audience love a good emotional story about the contestant’s fight to get on TV. Sharing this provides a memorable, emotional hook, making us more likely to remember that contestant over and above others.
A memorable back story is also key when launching a new product in-store. A brand that is not supported with any through-the-line activity will struggle to get noticed in-store. Even when brands DO have a strong TTL campaign, standing out can still be difficult. Using a common thread which links the campaign out of store to in-store is key. For example the sweet kittens seen on the McVities biscuit advert were very prominent on in-store displays too, creating a thread that links back to the emotional back story.
2. Positioning is key
Who can ever remember the first contestants in Eurovision? I certainly can’t! Those that go first often run the risk of being forgotten about, or missed if you are late switching the programme on.
The same is true in-store. A product display at front of store may just be too early in the journey to get noticed as shoppers transition from car park to store.
We also know shoppers visually focus between waist and chest height, so if your new product is too high or too low, it runs the risk of being missed.
3. Standing out from the crowd
Talent alone doesn’t seem to be enough now on these shows. Contestants have had to be creative to get noticed and we need to do the same in-store.
Applying the theory of discontinuity is probably a good place to start. Putting it simply anything that is different from its context and surroundings is likely to get noticed. The three key levers we can use for this are colour, shape and light/movement.
Cilit Bang created stand out years ago with a discontinuous colour. The use of pinks and purples in a category dominated by blues and greens really helped generate stand out.
Innocent used shape to create stand out in the ready meals category – launching with round tubs where everything else was rectangular.
Light and movement is more difficult to create with products themselves – but can be achieved through effective POS material.
In summary, as with talent shows, having the ‘talent’ (or in our case a good product that meets a need) is the hygiene factor. To ensure we stand out from the rest, new products need to hook to a TTL campaign, achieve a visible location in-store and on shelf, and ensure pack and POS allows a brand to stand out from the crowd.