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Championing elite in-store performance

As well as Euro 2016, there is also the small matter of the Olympics in Rio. And while British athletes already busy gearing up to compete, retailers and brands in many sectors are doing the same. This will involve planning crucial in-store activities that will start well in advance of the event itself, enabling marketers to leverage both official and unofficial associations that may help drive shopper engagement and sales opportunities ahead of these high profile sporting occasions.

One of the first retailers out of the blocks has been Aldi. If you’ve been into one of the discount retailer’s stores or seen its TV ads recently, you will no doubt have had exposure to its “Championing the Great” campaign. First launched back in August last year, it is part of a reported £10m sponsorship deal with Team GB. The grocery retailer has recruited six aspiring Rio Olympic athletes to front the campaign, and its latest execution sees it “Championing Great British Value”. Apparently, Aldi is also offering all 350 Team GB athletes a £25 voucher every month to spend in-store. Whilst at the same time, it is busy encouraging the public to get behind their local Olympic hopefuls as they train for competing in Rio.

Without doubt, it represents a great engagement piece – one that has been well integrated by the retailer, across a variety of channels. It also got us thinking about how important it is to encourage both internal and store teams to get behind in-store campaigns, if brands are to compete effectively and deliver a great retail performance throughout such key promotional events, and beyond.

For years, CJs have championed the need for improved retail standards compliance, and thanks to our expertise in this field we know all too well that success in-store is rarely achieved alone. Like our nation’s sportsmen and women this summer, the brands that win-out in-store are regularly those that build the right team around them to help realise their dreams. And like in any team sport, the role of the coach and the captain are both vital – setting the example, helping to maintain standards, and keeping others motivated and focused to overcome opportunities for failure when they present themselves. Put simply, having a dedicated “champion” of excellence, with the knowledge and skills needed to bring others together to achieve a common goal can be the cornerstone of success – whether on the field of play, on the track, or in-store.

As a brand or retailer, appointing a champion of retail standards can be the key that unlocks success. The defining moment that helps turn the perennial runner-up into an all-conquering winner. One of the champion’s roles is to get early buy-in to the implementation project. This decreases the time taken to get everyone on board and saves time, money and further effort (faster implementation). They will become key members of the business: people who have the training, expertise and confidence to guide and teach others about the importance of getting retail implementation right – first time, and every time.

In many ways, it’s the basic principle of good management. Sharing responsibility and giving people within your business true accountability. In the short term, retail specialists like CJs can do it for you. But, honestly, we would prefer to do it “with you”. By coaching champions, brands can ensure they have the knowledge and skills needed to teach techniques to their colleagues and share best practice with retail teams – engaging them with the commercial value of delivering Gold standards of in-store implementation, as well as a better understanding of the benefits that it brings to shoppers.

Of course, champions need to be developed to fulfil their role. But the result of making such an investment will not only be beneficial for in-store performance, it will also help you build strong relationships with retail partners and demonstrate that, as a brand, you are committed to developing the retail account.

Fostering a culture of implementation excellence can often seem a daunting task, especially when activating campaigns across multiple retail accounts and stores. There are many hurdles to jump if, as a retail marketer, you are to ensure that display standards are maintained throughout the duration of a campaign, not just on the day of launch. But embedding implementation deeper into your brand’s culture is possible, especially when you know how – ensuring that you are always on top of your game and that your brand’s next retail campaign has all the support it needs to out-perform the competition.