As April approaches, the General Election looms ever nearer. Once again political parties, Westminster candidates, and monster raving loonies et al will all be looking to take their policies straight to the people in the coming weeks. And come election night, millions of us will simultaneously be out in force, across the country, to cast our votes.
Whilst it could be argued that brands enjoy a level of engagement and loyalty that is far from the reach of any political party or candidate, there are many parallels to be drawn between the implementation of campaign winning elections and best practice brand delivery in-store. Anyone who works in politics knows that success is hard won. Retail can be just as unforgiving.
The role of retail installation specialists in delivering brand success is often thought to be limited to simply turning up with a display unit and screwing together a few bolts, or assembling connecting parts. It’s not. Just as Britain today is not the 1950’s, with housewives sat at home waiting for the doorbell to ring and an MP to kiss the baby, the process of taking a great retail display and successfully delivering it into store takes strategic thinking, effective on-the-ground tactics and a knowledgeable, skilled and passionate team of people.
Nobody really believes that MPs want to walk the streets. But for in-store specialists, covering thousands of miles, day and night, comes as second nature. While operating at different levels and in different ways, each and every one of them strives to help deliver brand in-store manifestos and keep retail displays looking great – day in, day out, month after month.
Our own specialists on the ground often take the strain, thinking on their feet and responding to failings further forward in the delivery process that, ultimately, impact of their ability to simply do their job. Yet it’s worrying that some assume that these individuals will be able to go on delivering without any additional development, resources and support. Put simply, they wont.
With Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Easter all following in quick succession, the last few months have seen CJ Retail Solutions in-store professionals demonstrating their incredible aptitude for delivering right first time retail installations. Indeed, as modern day heroes of retail success they have shown the way in how to absorb today’s many frequent, and often complex, in-store challenges.
Their ability to do this is far from a happy coincidence. At CJ Retail Solutions , we’ve always believed that it’s hugely important to give people something back in terms of training and resources. After all, there’s only so much juice to squeeze out of an orange before the pips run dry and the juice is gone.
Whilst marketers look for new and cost-effective ways to deliver retail activations more effectively, we remain committed to developing our team’s capability to support and implement future brand plans. In short, we look after our people now so they can continue to look after your brand for the longer term.
Here at CJ Retail Solutions our network of people journey across the UK on a daily basis. As the saying goes: ‘Travel broadens the mind’. Yet we still find the time to run regular training sessions and workshops at our dedicated learning academies. Far from being an excuse to take a day off from normal duties, they are a valuable opportunity to educate, inform and remind. After all, if people aren’t inspired, supported with team resources and developed in their careers, the experience that a brand’s customers receive in-store will suffer.
Alongside obvious training and development such as improving project management capabilities and technical and communication skills, our people are constantly given opportunities to revitalise and expand their understanding of our clients’ brands and knowledge of their products, too. For us, knowing not just how to implement a campaign, but why you’re being asked to do it in the first, is crucial to delivering better results where it matters most – in-store. It also enables teams to speak to each other, share good practice and increase their knowledge.
The most important thing to remember is that retail success, like any election success, is often a result of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. In-store specialists with the knowledge and skills needed to implement improved retail displays effectively and consistently can be the cornerstone of enhancing the brand experience, inspiring customers and driving sales. If brands are to achieve the performance results that they require, then they must invest in partners who invest in their people to ensure they are on top of their game and aware of what ‘good’ looks like.
So forget vote-seducing promises. For all the talk from political parties as they showcase their manifestos over the coming weeks, voters are likely to only be swayed by those who put their money where their mouths are. It should be the same story when it comes to deciding who you will trust to manage your brand delivery in-store. Do this and you are more likely to win the day when it comes to delivering outstanding campaigns in-store. Now that gets our vote!