Marketing Cut-Through in an Age of Noise

Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does. Industry experts have continued to advise brands not to freeze or reduce their advertising spend during this pandemic and challenging times. But where are the opportunities for brands to talk to customers and how can you capitalise on this?

Kiwi company Hypermedia is New Zealand’s largest retail focussed media company with over 1675 individual retail locations under its management. Its new Prime Retail media channel is particularly well-placed to help NZ advertisers capitalise on the changes in shopper behaviour driven by Covid-19 disruption.

"Hypermedia has been helping brands turn shoppers into buyers since 2010 and our new Prime Retail media product is perfectly positioned to do just that," said Ben Partington CEO of Hypermedia.

Brand owners have long memories and the worry is that consumers don't. Companies with brands worth billions that have been around for decades do not let them die in a recession. During the 2008 recession, Procter and Gamble and other similar companies kept their advertising constant. Brands try to stay in the consumer's mind, even if consumer spending falls as it has been shown, over and over again during recessions, that it pays to keep your brand top of mind in the consumer's eye.

Brands need to remind consumers that they still exist, and research backs this up as looking back over many decades, in times of crisis turning off advertising slows down recovery. Brands with longevity in the market show the way as they never give advertising a miss, they maintain their position no matter how bad things get. They want to be there for the recovery.

Customers are also echoing this with various studies showing that customers want to be talked to. For example, in the UK, Weetabix has boosted its ad-spend by 15 percent. This uncertain time for consumers has led to preference for familiar brands by shoppers according to the brand.

Weetabix marketing director Francesa Theokli was reported saying “It’s been an incredibly uncertain time for consumers of late and when it comes to food at home, we’ve seen shoppers look to the comfort and reassurance that big, familiar food brands like Weetabix can bring – shown with cereals brand-value sales currently growing 70 percent faster than private label”.

Likewise, in the US, CPG giant Procter and Gamble has ramped up its advertising spend during coronavirus.

“There are consumers that are trying products that they haven’t tried before – but they aren’t necessarily ours,” Jon Moeller, CFO at P&G told investors.

“We need to work hard to ensure that we maintain mental and physical availability to the greatest extent possible, so that those consumers return to their beloved and trusted brands – which are ours – as they’re more fully available. There’s a big upside here in terms of reminding consumers of the benefits that they’ve experienced with our brands and how they’ve met their family’s needs, which is why this is not a time to go off air.”

Not being top of mind for the consumer gives them an opportunity to be adventurous with new and different products - and perhaps like the shift from traditional brands. Building up that rapport again is not cheap nor easy so those who have stayed in the promotional market at consumer level will be the real winners.

There is a definite increase in media consumption, particularly in the online world, which is why brands should look at ways in which they can cut through the crowded online space and invest in other media channels, such as retail out-of-home advertising to talk to their consumers.

Hypermedia’s Prime Retail network currently offers access to 25 shopping centre locations from Whangarei to Christchurch and consists of 115 large printed panels with immediate proximity to supermarkets. These panels are double-sided, delivering a total of 230 saleable facings reaching 1.4 million shoppers each week.

Prime Retail panel locations offer adjacency to major supermarkets, the majority being Countdown and New World.

Thanks to the pandemic, brands now have new opportunities to reach consumers and retail media has been catapulted to the forefront of the media industry during Level 3 lockdown, being one of the only channels to retain and grow its audience, with the added benefit of proximity to the point of purchase and the ability to influence shopper behaviour.

As consumers emerge from their homes for their weekly outing to the supermarket, it’s an opportune moment for brands to talk to them.

Sharp spikes in supermarket visitation, coupled with impulse purchase behaviour represent a significant sales driving and brand building opportunity for agile FMCG brands willing to act quickly. There is less distraction and noise as consumers are taking their purposeful trips, allowing brands to reach consumers with little distraction in the critical moments that lead up to making a purchasing decision.

Social distancing queues outside supermarkets give potential customers the time to engage with brands' messaging and offers and this opportunity is one that many brands are taking advantage of. Prime Retail gives brands the chance to reach customers just before they enter a store where they will make a purchase.

Hypermedia’s network is designed to reach shoppers arriving at supermarkets, priming them for their in-store journey.

Under Alert Level 3, grocery sales have doubled in Auckland alone. Grocery sales throughout the previous nationwide lockdown and now the second wave of regional lockdowns saw shoppers exceeding their pre-Covid household grocery budgets, often spending upwards of 40 percent more each shop. Prime Retail offers FMCG and grocery brands the chance to secure and increase their share of basket.

Various studies and analysis of the market have shown that 75 percent of consumers are expanding the range of items purchased. With people in lockdown at home, comes the increase of people in each household that have shopping preferences and requirements that pre COVID-19 were not necessarily on the spot to be catered to. As foodservice options become limited, most meals and snacks have to now, be catered within the home.

Reach out to Hypermedia to discuss how your brand can achieve cut through with impactful and successful campaigns within these unique channel opportunities.