INNOVATION 1:1 – Change the channel of distribution

Hi, I am Ioana and I am passionate about innovation. I am keen on challenging my own mind, with the deep desire of finding new, bold and better solutions to the problems around us. Among other articles, I will create a collection of materials called Innovation 1:1, where I will happily share my own findings and learning. I am not a guru in this field, but I am a fast and avid learner. My interests are quite broad, from marketing and advertising to general business themes. So I hope that my articles will be helpful for many people.

One of the ways we can innovate in a communication campaign is by dismantling the components of campaign. We frequently think in a linear way, one element after another. We start with the insight, then the concept, the message, specific activations per channel. Then define our 360 wheel of a campaign trying to find interesting touch-points for the consumer to engage with the brand: TV, radio, Facebook, bloggers, events, retail promo, outdoor, sampling, special BTL activations. We try to place our message in places that it could fit, places that are complement with our message. It’s like we are looking for pieces of the puzzle. For example, we frequently think like this: my product is about breakfast opportunities, where can I place the message, so the consumer can see it during breakfast time? And the results are: digital app on your phone, Facebook, metro station to work, billboards, radio ads in the morning show, retail via complementary products (for example, near the pillow sections).

But let’s try something new: Let’s take one component and move it into an unexpected place. Instead of looking for all the pieces to fit the puzzle, take one piece of the puzzle and start a new image. For example, distribution channel can be changed. This is daring, but this is what innovation is all about.

Let’s analyze some successful case-studies from companies who changed their distribution channels in order to have a better impact. And let’s try to decode how they did it.

1. Holiday Tickets are sold in … vending machines

This is the story of a tourism agency offering cheap travels to different European destinations. So they tried to find out a way to tell consumers this.

Let’s break this down, so we can learn for our your campaigns:

  • The brand identified one main characteristic of their products: cheap. And they needed a comparison element, as people do not understand the real value until they compare it with something else.
  • Ok, they exaggerated a bit, as a pack of snacks is not 40 euros. But, though this angle, they managed to do something brilliant: place the tourism tickets in another mental category. Usually, people think long before they decide where to spend their holiday and from what agency to buy their tickets. But, with this campaign, buying tourism became an impulse decision.
  • And now, they took one step further: they took the product from its regular channel distribution and place it where it made more sense. If tourism is not impulse, we should also sell it where people buy on impulse: in retail, where the average decision on shelf in less than 7 seconds.

What can we learn from here?

  1. Define one single, clear benefit for your product. Don’t pretend it is all things to all people.
  2. Compare it with something else. Dismantle this attribute from your product.
  3. Play along this comparison till the end. Don’t be shy. Success comes to the ones who dare.

2. Clothes sold in ….mini-bars

The issue here: The product is sold in stores, but many people travelling do not have time enough to visit the store. How can you attract tourists to your store? Or shouldn’t you?

Let’s break this down, so we can learn for our your campaigns:

  • Lesson no 1. Enter the consumers’ mind. Understand their needs. In this case, tourists who forget to pack something or need something extra, are the ones who needed help from our brand. So, instead of trying to allure them in the store, Pimkie went to them.
  • Lesson no 2. Make it easy for consumers to access your brand. Be where they need you, like a true chameleon.
  • Lesson no 3. Absorb the characteristics of the new environment. The fun of this campaign comes from the fact that consumers could use the fashion bar exactly like a mini-bar. They were familiar with this system and they could understand it easily.

3. Donations offer in a …. Billboard

The challenge: Donate. This is always a challenge.

 Let’s break this down, so we can learn for your campaigns:

How do people usually donate? They are putting money in a small box or sending a SMS. But what is happening is the fact that we are using our credit card more and more. Always catch the trends, see what people are really doing. They swipe their card at shopping; why not swipe it to help others?  Also, visual impact and immediately showing the results of your actions are must-haves.

4. Rise sold via… art, not stores

Food products are normally sold in stores, in their regular packaging. But what happens when people are not intrigue by them anymore, then they become commodities?

Let’s break this down, so we can learn for your campaigns:

When your product is not interesting enough, don’t discount the price. Try to show them in      another light, because any product has a story to tell. Play with your product; give it another meaning, which is new and unique. Never say that your product is just a product, there is always something more to it.

In terms of changing the distribution channel, this is exactly the reverse of Pinkie Fashion Mini-Bar. This time, the brand asked consumers to come to it, making an effort for that. Be sure that their effort is worth it.

So, if you can’t show more of your product in its regular selling channel, tell its story in another environment. But make sure you have a good story and a good picture to show. And don’t forget: you could still sell, even if not in-store.

5. LEDs where is …matters

This is one of the VIP cases at Cannes, 2015. Samsung decided to pay its part in the community. Look how they did it?

Let’s break this down, so we can learn for your campaigns:

We all love to look at large screens, usually in the stores, at home or in cinemas. Samsung decided to use its amazing screen to help people, instead of just entertaining them. Think the same for your brand: What value can my product bring to people, except for its main usage? Where can my product be of a better use? We usually think of our products as assets that we need to sell to people. But it’s high time to think about them in terms of helping people.

Well, all this cases I have shown you are innovative, aren’t them? In all cases, the product is not on its usual spot or shelf. And this is a real challenge for many brands; it takes good consumer understanding, imagination and guts. But you know what they say: Risk nothing, win nothing.

15 February 2016
Featured, Innovation