5 Lessons I learnt from taking a niche FMCG brand to market
The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) category requires aggressive planning and execution loops to accelerate brands in the market.
When ScaleFactor was approached by a young startup in the FMCG space with the vision of creating a new category of puddings in the dessert market, we were excited to take up the challenge and realise their goals.
I researched the Tier 1 cities in India to gain insight into the consumer trends in the FMCG sector. The F&B dessert category had boomed over the last decade to go beyond the palette that exclusively loved Indian sweets to incorporate flavours from across the world that young India craved.
Over the next 8 months, I was deeply involved in building the brand through rebranding and marketing efforts. The fast pace and the exciting sector was enough to accelerate my knowledge of what made consumer brands tick. Here’s what I learnt:
1. The better you know your customers, the more you can give to them
In-depth qualitative research with the potential customers can help build personas on the back of the qualitative traits of these customers concerning the segment the brand is present in.
The target audience that emerged from the research were people between 18–50 with qualitative traits of being ‘on a quest for indulgence or a quick craving/hunger fix’ and ‘eccentric food explorers and foodies’.
In knowing the customers better, the brand can improve its offerings and messaging to communicate directly to the customer and their underlying needs.
2. Honesty goes a long way: Set the expectations straight
In the FMCG sector, customers are exposed to a terrifying number of choices to meet their every need which is why brands know that customers mostly rely on impulse-based decision-making in the FMCG category.
Many brands use this to manipulate customers to choose their product but fail to communicate to customers about the expectations the product meets.
Since the product and the brand were both new information for potential customers, the need was to design a functional label layout to empower the customer with that all the necessary information about nutrition, handling and consumption so that it is easily accessible and discoverable because, while people are conscious about the products they purchase, and trust and transparency drive their decision making, they also actively seek information to try and form an informed opinion about the product.
The first experience a customer has, will create strong associations in the minds of people so there was a need to craft an experience for customers through suggestive copy, visuals, and marketing so they know how they can make the most out of the product.
3. A good brand doesn’t always mean good business: Supply chain is key
Branding consumer products right can instantly strike a chord with target customers. To ensure continually providing great products to meet the need of customers, a strong positioning should be established by recognising key activities, resources, partners and performance indicatives.
Depending on the kind of products, many FMCG F&B products are perishable with a low shelf-life. In these scenarios, the supply chain plays a vital role in ensuring the product is delivered on time in its best state.
For viability, the distribution network should be vast, dense and strategically monitored on the back on detailed SOPs. This kind of distribution network can only be established by increasing sales across channels in the same geographies before expanding to newer markets.
4. At the point of purchase, sell! sell! sell!
With the presence of so many competitors- both large players and new players at the retail store, it’s a challenge to get products visible. There’s always a competition between brands to get the most coveted shelf line and the largest shelf space in the stores for customers attention.
Brands also resort to hiring experienced promoters at stores to engage customers, grab visual attention through displays, banners, offers and the occasional giveaways!
5. Hustle is everything
8 months into the project, I realised, team collaborations whether conversational or through monitoring performance indicatives with task-oriented tools becomes vital in creating the pulse of operational synchronicity and building the roadmap to achieve the vision and mission of the brand with the customers at the heart of it.
With the consumer product market players constantly testing saturation levels while competing with each other, to survive as a brand — pace is everything.