Archives for posts with tag: Integrated Marketing Communications

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 3.49.13 PM

Once you’ve worked in marketing for let’s say, over two years. You come to realise that there can be tribal divisions between FMCG marketers, Retail marketers, and B2B marketers. So what are the actual differences between these three tribes (FMCG, Retail, B2B), if there are any, and what are the similarities?

FMCG Marketing

FMCG Marketing definition: Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) or consumer packaged goods (CPG) are products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable goods such as soft drinks, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs, processed foods and many other consumables. Think of your average corner store or supermarket.

From a consumer psychology perspective FMCG marketers need to ensure that their brands have built a high level of brand awareness, and brand recall. What this means, is that when you go into a corner store looking for a drink to satisfy your somewhat-out-of-control sugar addiction, lot’s of people think the category “soft drink”, and voila, on the shelf in front of them are three kinds of Cola. Coke, Pepsi, and Sugar Daddy Cola.

So, we already know you won’t buy Sugar Daddy Cola, because you have zero awareness of it, and you can’t recall it’s brand attributes, and it’s imagery is meaningless to you.

Pepsi, you have awareness of it, you can recall the brand, and you know basically what it’s brand image is about. But, you don’t feel favourable to Pepsi! The last you heard they did some awful piece of social advertising which got negative reviews starring one of the Kardashians. Not too mention it was during a Pepsi commercial that Michael jackson was set on fire somehow.. So  I know about Pespi, but f*ck Pepsi.

Coke, iconic Coke. I have awareness of Coke, I understand the brand image (fun, social, cool, zero guilt), and I can easily recall it when I’m soft drink shopping. Plus, my perceptions are positive, Coke makes me feel good emotionally. So we buy the Coke.

So what does an FMCG marketer do?

They often spend ENORMOUS sums of money building their brands so that when shoppers walk into retail shops they are aware of their brand, they can recall it based on what they’re going in to buy (e.g. Coke is synonymous with the Cola category, but Sugar Daddy? Not so much), and the brand imagery is favourable/likeable, and ideally resonates with the shopper.

And if it resonates with the shopper, the shopper will buy it, which puts money in the pockets of the retailer, which means your brand stays on shelves, and everyone in the supply chain is making money (except the consumer of course).

Needless to say, some brands are done better then others.

But of course, if your brand is new, or there is a low level of awareness for your brand, or your brand is a less favourable than your competitors, there are ways to gain market share.

  1. Rebrand – build your brand again, and promote it’s new attributes/personality. It can differ from the market leader, or it can be similar. The choice is yours. Following the leader isn’t always a bad strategy though, so don’t feel you HAVE to reinvent the wheel. But then again… This is of course, where you would invest time in market research such as questionnaires and focus groups.
  2. Go cheaper – Battle on price. Be cheaper than the competition. This can act as an economic incentive, after all people do also shop with their wallets too not just their hearts, never lose sight of this fact. If you can encourage shoppers to buy your brand by dropping your pants on the price for a specific period of time (one week? one month? Every second weekend a month for a year?) then you can win brand loyalty, recall, and experience. Effectively switching a customer from a competitors brand to your brand. After all, an FMCG marketer wants shelf space in a retailer, BUT the retailer (who is the FMCG marketers direct customer) would prefer to have products on customers/end-users shelves.
  3. Go more expensive! – position your product as the upmarket version of competitor brands. Either through inputs and quality, or brand positioning. Thus, you can increase your price and increase profits. Although the volumes might be less, because you’re making more money… who cares? And trust me, retialer LOVE high margin product.
  4. Other promotion – similar to going cheaper, perhaps encourage the customer switches to your product by running an “enter-to-win” type promotion, a “buy 2 get 3” promotion, so one and so forth.
  5. Samples – Just get customer using your product! Who cares if it costs you some money or samples. E.g. post cat food to letterboxes, offer samples in the supermarket. The aim of game is to “switch sell” the customer into your brand/s. Getting them to use your product (albeit for free for a limited time) can be a good start.

In a nutshell that’s what you should be concerned with in FMCG, and a few ideas of how to do it. In FMCG, often they sell very cheap products (like a can of coke), so they want to sell large volumes to large quantities of consumers… and quickly! Hence FAST MOVING consumer goods. Also, food products can have a short shelf life so they need to move through them quickly.

B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing definition: B2B (business-to-business) marketing is marketing of products to businesses or other organizations for use in production of goods, for use in general business operations (such as office supplies), or for resale to other consumers, such as a wholesaler selling to a retailer.

First of all, usually a part of FMCG marketing involves some degree of B2B marketing. For example, Uncle Ben’s rice needs to build it’s brand in the eyes of the customer, but also it needs to do good business with the supermarket or corner store that it sells into.

B2B marketing is incredibly varied, some examples would be selling coffee beans to Kraft foods (which they in turn sell to a retailer, who sells to the end-user). Microsoft, who sell software packages to schools and universities (who in turn charge students fees), John Deere who sells tractors to a farmer (who ploughs his fields and sells his produce to a market, who in turn sells it to end-user), television channels who sell advertising time-slots on FMCG companies or retailers (who advertise product and brands to customers hoping they’ll buy it, or build brand awareness).

B2B marketing is varied, but you will NEVER be selling to an end-user directly. Needless to say, you can still build your brand with consumers, but they won’t buy from you directly. If you do, you might seriously anger a retail or on-seller partner, which is not recommended.

Furthermore, in B2B vs B2C marketing, in both occasions you’re marketing to human beings. B2B however is often a small & focussed target market made up of committee’s, in a higher-risk purchase environment. However, in B2C marketing your target market can number in the millions, made up mostly of individuals, in a lower risk purchase environment.

In B2B, you might only sell one product a year, but it could be a product that you sell for millions of dollars. And generally speaking, sales staff will be heavily involved with process too (e.g. offering more information, relationship building over a long period of time). On the other hand, in B2B you might sell thousands of products to another business and only be making twenty cents off each item. It doesn’t matter, you are thinking in volume not just profit.

Retail Marketing

Retail Marketing definition: Retail is the sale of goods and services from businesses to an end user (customer). Retail marketing is the process by which retailers promote awareness and interest of their goods and services in an effort to generate sales from their consumers.

Now, from a consumer psychology perspective, retail marketing differs somewhat from FMCG marketing or B2B Marketing, because a retailer doesn’t usually invest anytime in building the brands it stocks, the FMCG marketers and B2B marketers have already done this. But it does invest lots of time in telling you which brands/product it stocks. There are five key things people want to know when shopping from a retailer:

  1. What categories do they sell? e.g. food? electronics? fashion? sports goods?
  2. What brands do they sell? e.g. Coke? Samsung? Gucci? Adidas?
  3. Where are they located (where can I buy from)? e.g. Online? Locally? Across town?
  4. What are their store hours? e.g. 9am-5pm 7 days a week? Late night Thursday? 24/7 online?
  5. How long is the sale on for? e.g. 3 days only! Today only! Must end Sunday!

If nothing else, ensure that you answer the five questions above when doing a general retail promotion. People need to know what you sell (breadth), how much of it you sell (depth), where they can get it (place), when they can get it (store hours), and how long it’s available for (e.g. three days only!). This last point, how long is it available for, can be a good place to start as a call-to-action. If people perceive that time is running out, and they might miss out on a deal (assuming they’re in the market for your product), they will make sure they can come and buy something from a retailer shop.

Remember to stay price competitive, because whilst shoppers can be brand loyal, they won’t necessarily be loyal to the retailer they buy that brand from. E.g. Shop A is advertising a Samsung TV I want for $300, but shop B sells it for $288. I’ll buy from shop B.

So when working as a retail advertiser, ensure you answer the above questions, remain price competitive, and entice people where necessary with a ‘hook’. A hook can be a hot price, a value add (e.g. bonus sound bar with your Samsung TV, or a bonus scoop with your John Deere tractor), a tight timeframe to score a ‘deal’, a NEW product, or a bundle buy (buy 2 get 3), to name a few.

Further reading?

To read a little more, try my previous blogs about normative influences versus informational influences to better understand the psychological drivers between low-involvement purchases, which are generally associated with retail and FMCG, and high-involvement purchases, which are generally associated with B2B.










This is part two of a two part blog on how social influences effect consumer behavior (i.e. what drives people to buy ‘stuff’ on a psychosocial level). Part one is on Normative Influences and part two is on Informational Influence.


Part Two- Informational Influences…

Let’s use the following example, to illustrate the difference between Normative and Informational Influences:

You go to a Sunday market with your partner, and you both decide you want to buy a cup of coffee.

There are TWO seperate coffee stands standing side-by-side (stand A & B). Coffee stand A has ten people lined up to buy coffee, whereas stand B has two people lined up to buy coffee.

Because you are driven by Normative influences, you will most likely conform, and line up at stand A.

But! The two people lined up at Stand B, know something you don’t know. Stand B actually has better coffee, better service, their coffee is fair trade, and it’s even a little cheaper.

If you were driven by Informational Influences, you would go to stand B. regardless of the huge line at Stand A.

But hey, it’s a Sunday, you have time, and it’s only a few bucks so who cares (and anyway what’s in a cup of coffee? Coffee, milk, and the cup it comes in). So, let’s just buy from Stand A, because everyone else is. Let’s be driven to make our purchase based on Normative Influences.

However!! If you were going to spend 30,000 on a car, or 600,000 on a house, I doubt you’d be too worried about the crowd when it came to making a purchase decision. You’d become more driven to make a purchase based on informational influences.

Why? Because financial risk has just gone up considerably, and there are more features to consider (engine size, fuel economy, suspension, steering, ABS brakes, alarm, warranty, size, boot space, acceleration, torque, gears, upholstery, colour etc etc). You will definitely base your purchase decisions based on informational influences.

In a nutshell;

● Normative Influence is conformity based on one’s desire to fulfill others’ expectations and gain acceptance (Myers, 2009).

● Informational influence is conformity under acceptance of evidence about reality which has been provided by others (Myers, 2009).

B2B vs B2C marketing…

It’s timely to mention, that generally speaking you can state that B2C marketing is concerned with driving business through Normative Influences (especially low-involvement purchases like FMCG), and that B2B marketer’s are concerned with driving business through Informational Influences (although like all things, cross-pollination does in actual fact happen, and is preferred if your goal is a thorough brand building exercise).

Furthermore, in B2B vs B2C marketing, in both occasions you’re marketing to human beings. B2B however is often a small & focussed target market made up of committee’s, in a higher-risk purchase environment. However, in B2C marketing your target market can number in the millions, made up mostly of individuals, in a lower risk purchase environment.


Myers, D.G. (2008) Social Psychology. Ninth Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Creating a positive brand image takes marketing programs that link strong, favorable and unique brand associations to the brand in a person’s memory. And when measuring customer based brand equity it really doesn’t matter how they are formed; all that matters is their favorability, strength and uniqueness.

Its important to recognize that consumers can form brand associations in a variety of ways other than your marketing activities; from direct experience; through information from other commercial or nonpartisan sources such as Consumer Reports or other media vehicles; word of mouth; and any assumptions made about the brand itself e.g. its name, logo, identification with the company, country, channel of distribution, or person, place or event.

Ultimately you need to recognize the influence that these information sources can have on your brand/s and learn to manage them as well as possible by designing communication strategies which adequately account for them.

Strength of Brand Associations

The more deeply a person thinks about product information and relates it to existing brand knowledge, the stronger the resulting brand associations will be. Two factors which strengthen association to any piece of information are its personal relevance and consistency with which it is presented over time.

Consumers form beliefs about brand attributes in different ways. Brand attributes are those descriptive features that characterize a product or service. Brand benefits are the personal value or meaning that customers attach to the product or service attributes.

In general direct experiences create the strongest brand attribute and benefit associations and are particularly influential in consumer’s decisions. See the table below (fig 1.0) which illustrates how consumers evaluate the importance of different reasons for brand choice.

Fig 1.0

Company influenced sources of information such as advertising are often likely to create the weakest associations and thus may be the most easily changed. To overcome this hurdle, marketing communication programs use creative communications that cause consumers to elaborate on brand related information and relate it appropriately to existing knowledge. They expose consumers to communications repeatedly over time, and ensure that many retrieval cues are present as reminders.

Favorability of Brand Associations

To choose which favorable and unique associations to link to your brand, you will need to carefully analyze the consumer and the competition to determine the best positioning for the brand. You will need to create favorable brand associations by convincing consumers that the brand possesses relevant attributes and benefits that satisfy their needs and wants, such that they form positive overall brand judgments.

Thus, favorable associations are those that are desirable to consumers- convenient, reliable, effective, efficient, colorful- successfully delivered by the product, and conveyed by the supporting marketing program. Desirability depends on three factors: how relevant, how distinctive and how believable consumers find the brand association. Deliverability also depends on three factors: 1) the actual or potential ability of the product to perform, 2) the current or future prospects of communicating that performance, and 3) the sustainability of the actual and communicated performance over time.

Uniqueness of Brand Associations

All brands need a unique selling proposition (USP) which will give consumers a compelling reason why they should buy it. You may base your USP on product-related or non product-related attributes or benefits. In some categories non product-related attributes more easily create unique associations- for example the idea that Heineken is a suave, cool and popular young professional in their latest TV ad- The Entrance.

While strong and unique associations are critical to a brands success, unless the brand faces no competition, it will most likely share some associations with other brands. In actual fact shared associations can help to establish category membership and define the scope of competition with other products and services.

Consumers may consider certain attributes or benefits prototypical and essential to all brands within a category, and a specific brand an exemplar and most representative. For example they may expect a running shoe to provide support and comfort and to be able to withstand repeated wearing, and they believe that Asics, New Balance or some other leading brand best represents a running shoe. Another example is that consumers might expect an online retailer to offer easy navigation, a variety of offerings, reasonable shipping options, secure purchase procedures, responsive customer service and strict privacy guidelines, in which case they may consider to be the best example of an online retailer. Thus in most categories varying degrees of isomorphism can occur.

Thus, in almost all cases, some product category associations will be shared with all brands in the category. Note that the strength of the brand associations to the product category is an important determinant of brand awareness.

To conclude, to create the differential response which leads to customer based brand equity, marketers need to make sure that some strongly held brand associations are not only favorable but also unique and not shared with competing brands. Undoubtedly unique associations help consumers choose brands.

The Four Steps of Brand Building

I have mentioned the four steps to brand building very briefly during my first blog called Fairy Tale Branding. But here the fundamental questions to ask yourself when brand building:

1)      Who are you? (Brand Identity)

2)      What are you? (Brand Meaning)

3)      What do I think or feel about you? (Brand responses)

4)      What kind of association and how much of a connection would I like to have with you? (Brand Relationship)


Stay Breezy.

Oliver W

PS I will be discussing the building blocks further in the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled for an article titled The Great Pyramid.  My next few posts will more than likely explore Local and mobile advertising and/or logos.


Thanks as always to:

Keller, K L (2001).Strategic Brand Management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity (3rd ed.).New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

1) When a person goes into a shop to buy a product, will they be able to recognize your brand as one which they have already been exposed to? Yes? No? Maybe?

2) In which situations do they see themselves using your brand? For example are your sausages for the BBQ only? Or are they used for a mid week quick and easy dinner?

The two questions above address the concepts of 1)Brand Recognition and 2)Brand Recall.

Brand recognition is the consumers ability to confirm prior exposure of a brand when given the brand as a cue. Generally brand recognition is more important if the consumer is making a decision at the point of purchase where brand name, logo, packaging and so on will be physically present and visible. If consumer decisions are made away from the point of purchase, on the other hand, then brand recall will be more important. For this reason creating brand recall is very important for service and online brands: Consumers must actively seek the brand and therefore be able to retrieve it from memory when appropriate.

Establishing Brand Awareness

So how do we create brand awareness? Increasing brand awareness means increasing familiarity with the brand through repeated exposure, although this is generally more effective for brand recognition than for brand recall. The more a consumer “experiences” the brand by seeing it, hearing it, or thinking about it, the more likely he/she is to strongly register the brand in memory.

Anything that causes consumers to experience a brand name, symbol, logo, character, packaging or slogan- including advertising and promotion, sponsorship and event marketing, publicity and public relations, and outdoor advertising- can increase familiarity and brand awareness of that brand element. And the more elements you can reinforce, usually the better.


Improving brand recall will also require linkages to appropriate product categories or other cues which lead to purchase or consumption. Jingles, logos, symbols and characters aid brand recall. The way you pair the brand and its product category with advertising and slogans will help determine the strength of product category links. Strong links between the brand and the category or other relevant cues may become especially important over time if the product meaning of the brand changes through brand extensions, or even company mergers and acquisitions.

Product Category Structure

To fully understand brand recall we need to understand product category structure, or how product categories are organized in memory.

The beverage market is a good setting to examine issues in category structure and the effects of brand awareness of brand equity. The diagram below illustrates one hierarchy that might exist in consumers minds.

Consumers first distinguish between flavored and non flavored beverages (water). Next, they distinguish between non alcoholic and alcoholic flavored beverages. They further distinguish non-alcoholic into hot drinks like tea or coffee, or cold drinks like milk, juices, and soft drink. Furthermore alcoholic beverages are distinguished by whether they are wine, beer, or distilled spirits.Consumers will often make decisions in a top down fashion. Finally, consumers might then choose a particular brand within the product category in which they are interested.

The depth of brand awareness will influence the likelihood that the brand name will come to mind, whereas the breadth of brand awareness describes the different types of situations in which the brand might come to mind. A good general example is soft drinks- soft drinks have great breadth of awareness in that they come to mind in a variety of different consumption situations. For example a consumer may consider drinking Coke anytime anywhere.

Summary of Ideas

We create brand awareness by increasing the familiarity of the brand through repeated exposure (for brand recognition) and forging strong association with the appropriate product category or other relevant purchase or consumption cues (for brand recall). It is important to understand the product category structure of your market so that you can begin to examine the breadth of usage and depth of recall that your brand holds within its respective market.

Heavy Reading I know- refer back to this post every now and again when discussions on advertising, brand promotion or brand awareness pop into your mind or the office.

Now you know.

Ollie W


PS Next article I’ll look at brand image and ideas which will influence how you strategically position your brand.

Thanks to:

Keller, K L (2001).Strategic Brand Management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity (3rd ed.).New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

As I mentioned in my previous blog advertising can typically be grouped into two categories: above-the-line and below-the-line advertising. Above-the-line advertising is typically marketing that is done by ad agencies and includes television, radio and press promotion. Below-the-line advertising is typically conducted by the company itself.

Direct Mail Marketing

While direct mail can have mixed results, when used properly, it can be an effective means of advertising. Direct-mail campaigns should be professionally designed, and copywriters should be hired to create compelling messages that your intended customer’s can’t ignore. The costs for direct mailings are directly dependent on the size of your campaign but generally are lower than most above-the-line advertising techniques. The key to a successful direct mailing campaign is of course to have a database of relevant names and addresses- otherwise you won’t be doing much mailing at all. It never hurts to have an interesting piece of mail designed too- for example a 3D pop up envelope.

Door-to-Door Marketing

Door-to-door marketing takes selling to a personal level, and this is one of the most common forms of below the line advertising. This technique requires highly trained sales staff that know how to build customer relationships and can walk that fine line of being persistent without being annoying. Most door-to-door marketing campaigns are set up to pay on commission, so upfront costs can be kept low and salespeople have more incentive to make sales. An example of door-to-door marketing would be mobile phone packaged sales. An agent goes through their territory, knocks on doors and then tries to sell a data plan if the person is interested in learning more about what they have to offer.

Exterior Location Marketing

Exterior location marketing involves driving interest to an event or sale through the strategic use of employees placed outside the location. Typically, these methods include sandwich-board style promotions or even dressing up the employee in a costume to draw more attention to the location. These employees may stand alongside the road, getting the attention of passing drivers. While this technique is not often employed, it can be beneficial for small companies, restaurants and auto dealers.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can also be a form of below-the-line advertising if your company conducts the campaign on its own. You are communicating directly with the consumer through this form of marketing and can direct them to a landing page where they can learn more about what you are offering. This in turn gives you the ability to measure campaign effectiveness. Email marketing is generally inexpensive, and results can be good if the email list is targeted and fresh and follows double opt-in guidelines Double opt-in refers to the process where consumers have to confirm their subscription to an email list before emails can be sent to them. Don’t spam people- there are laws against it. You will need their permission first- having a function on your website where people sign up to a mailing list can be an easy way to achieve this.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media marketing is a great way to communicate with anyone who has a social media account on facebook, twitter or myspace (for example). Social media is a great way to target people interested in your brand and update them on sales promotions or any other activity you wish to inform them of. Don’t over do it though! Whereas it’s appropriate for a person to update their face book page every 15 minutes- a brand should maybe give updates every few days or even once a week. Remember Social Media requires people to choose to want to follow your activity- so by the time you’re engaging with a customer at this level you have most likely successfully implemented other media- such as above the line activity or other below the line methods. Social Media is free to use and very easy to use. If your brand doesn’t have a facebook page get one yesterday! Assuming your B2C, B2B it probably isn’t so important.

Catch you Later.

Ollie W

Next post: A look at building customer based brand equity- business school models and examples.

Bread and Butt

This blog defines and discusses the neologism of above, below and through the line advertising. Because the bigger half of anything is to understand the vocabulary used, a logical start is for us to put definitions in place for these terms.

Mostly the business world is made to sound more complex than it really is through the use of confusing jargon and non-descript terminology.

View this article as a brief educational piece for new comers to the world of branding, and perhaps a refresher course to those who are already here but didn’t get time to do their homework for one reason or another.

Above the Line Media

Above the line media are mass media formats such as television, cinema, radio, print (newspaper and magazines), out-of-home (billboards, bus stops). It is the advertising method of choice when the target group is very large and/or difficult to define.

Below the Line Media

Below the line media are generally targeted and specific forms of communicating with customers such as email, internet games, smart phone applications, direct mail (posting information out to a specific person), face-to-face selling and social media.

Below is a chart I’ve taken from the DARE website which outlines the differences between above and below line nicely:

Above-the-Line Media… Below-the-Line Media…
Are tailored to reach a mass audience Are targeted at individual consumers, based on their expressed needs and preferences
Establish brand identity or reinforce emotional concept surrounding a product or brand Issue a “call-to-action,” inspiring specific customer activity or tailored messages about a product or a brand
May or may not drive customer response Drive individual responses
Are difficult – if not impossible – to measure with any accuracy Are highly measurable, allowing marketers insight into their return-on-investment, as well as those tactics that are (and are not) working
Cater to the mass market Establish one-to-one relationships between consumers and marketers
Source: V12 Group

Through the Line (Integrating Media)

Through the line is when you successfully point customers to your Below the Line media from information given to them in your Above the Line media (or vice versa). For example, a Radio ad for a Sportswear distributor might mention a new product line in store that will be discounted if you go to their website and sign up to their mailing list. Or a Newspaper ad which encourages potential customers to “like” their face book page. Assuming you sign up to the mailing list or “like” the face book page the advertiser has successfully driven you through the line. In essence, through the line is an action whereas above and below the line are general terms for some of the tools that marketers use when building brand equity.

Follow the YouTube link below to see a good case study on a strong real world example of how to integrate marketing communications well…

Have fun.

Ollie W

PS My next blog will be up in the next day or two. I will spend more time discussing Below the Line Advertising there.