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The brands that become success stories in the CPG industry understand the secret sauce for ramping up revenues until they capture a category. These companies create such strong brand stickiness that consumers feel an alarm go off when considering brand switching. The reason for such a profound response is all thanks to their ability to master the CPG experience.
Almost every brand strives to connect with its target audience and build lasting relationships. Unfortunately, most fall short of what is necessary for a CPG brand to leave a lasting impression on their consumer. This article helps to solve this riddle for companies willing to put in the work.
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What Is CPG Experience?
CPG experience resembles brand experience but speaks specifically to consumer products. Like brand experience, the meaning of CPG experience is to quantify consumers’ overall interaction and perception of the CPG brand’s products.
The experience involves every touchpoint, including what a potential customer sees in marketing campaigns and the consumer’s final use of your product. It also includes consumer conversations and interactions with your brand throughout the pre, during, and post-purchase timeframe.
By quantifying the CPG experience, your brand will gain a further understanding of consumer preferences and how they feel about your company allowing you to take action to improve the overall experience with your target audience.
Consumer Research To Drive A Positive Experience
New brands do not have to fly blind as they enter the CPG market. Even small companies can access insightful data based on historical and real-time consumer data within the CPG industry. By performing preliminary research about your category within the CPG market, you can learn a lot about what causes consumer demand and drives brand recall.
Engaging With Consumers To Nurture The Experience
How involved are consumers with your brand? Your answer to this question differs from the previous statement of how most brands aim to connect with their target audience. Unfortunately, what we say isn’t always what we do.
Existing brands that hope to improve the CPG consumer experience must create a strategy where they pursue consumer engagement. Engaging with the target audience serves the immediate need to increase stickiness while also becoming an ongoing point of brand research to understand customer behavior.
Now, let’s look at the three stages of the CPG experience.
Unless it is an impulse purchase, consumers already have an understanding (logically and emotionally) of your CPG product, which impacts their current and ongoing experience with their brand.
Crafting Effective Marketing Campaigns
A point of conflict between branding vs. marketing is in the experience it seeks to develop. In marketing, the point is to do whatever is necessary to get potential customers to take the next step. In branding, we aim to create connections and associations with the consumer.
But it doesn’t have to be one or the other, as both can work together to improve the experience. A CPG marketer can come alongside the brand manager to ensure the messages are compelling and consistent and highlight the products’ brand story and value proposition.
Every marketing touchpoint impacts the experience, including:
- Social media (paid and organic)
- Influencer partnerships
- Print and digital advertising
- In-store displays outside of traditional placement.
Emphasizing Sustainability and Ethical Practices
Sustainable CPG brands continue to be a point of conversation with media outlets and social circles. Consumer awareness of sustainability and good for society brands is becoming mainstream but the competitiveness of this as a point of distinction is increasing. To leverage this to improve the CPG experience, you must go above and beyond as a force for good and determine the best way to communicate this.
Many CPG companies use this as a marketing ploy, often engaging in greenwashing. Don’t be this company.
Enhancing Digital Interactions
Improving the digital connection with customers is often the easiest way for a brand to gain traction for a consumer goods brand. With digital communications, you can leverage AI and technology to your advantage lowering the amount of human capital you have to designate to this initiative.
But it isn’t just AI and technology, as human interactions deepen the relationship with consumers, leading to a better brand experience. Even CPG food brands with low price points need to make an effort to enhance their digital interactions with consumers as it leads to more than a per-customer benefit; the effort resonates with others whom they engage with.
Leveraging Influencer Partnerships
As a medium, CPG influencer marketing is still a young and evolving advertising category. Since its inception, influencers have (and continue) to be a fast way to further consumer experience with your brand. Not only does it heighten brand awareness for new CPG brands, but it also serves to remind your existing customers why they should stick to your brand.
To take advantage of the experience benefits influencer partnerships offer, leverage them across all of your CPG marketing strategies. Consider how fitness brands that sponsor influencers use their influence across all digital and print channels. Even going so far as to have these influencers show up for in-person events.
The point of purchase is pivotal for the CPG experience. Think about it; this is when people create the most significant association with your brand as they shell out their hard-earned money to give your product a try. How the product is presented on-shelf, in-hand, and at checkout is vital to the customer’s feeling about your brand.
Harnessing the Power of Personalization
Consumers must feel that your product solves a problem. Whether it’s a feeling they hope to experience or an answer to a pain point, they mostly purchase your product because they believe you to be the solution. Creating this response in the consumer’s mind is nearly impossible without product personalization.
Personalization starts by clarifying your target audience and positioning yourself to attract this consumer best. All product offers, and point-of-purchase communication should create a sense of exclusivity and emotional connection. Much of this understanding occurs during brand development, where we leverage data by performing research and consumer testing.
Personalization is a critical factor for category giants and emerging CPG brands. At every level, a brand should be strategically improving in this area.
Designing Memorable Packaging
Packaging plays a significant role in shaping the CPG experience. It serves as the first point of contact between the consumer and the product. An attention-grabbing, aesthetically pleasing CPG packaging design can evoke positive emotions and increase purchase chances. Brands should create their consumer goods packaging design that reflects their values, resonates with their target audience, and stands out on store shelves.
Working with a CPG packaging design agency is the right move for brands that are in competitive categories, as their experience significantly reduces the amount of research your brand must perform to understand the category and sales channels.
Ensuring Consistent Product Placement
It isn’t just the omnichannel brand that takes up retail shelf space in a retailer. Even the DTC company needs to ensure consistent product placement everywhere they are visible (think Google Shopping and affiliate sites).
For ecommerce and through a brick n mortar retailers, this also means keeping a close eye on your supply chain, as out-of-stock will immediately change your product placement. Each time your product is less visible or invisible to shoppers, it lowers their experience with your brand.
Post Purchase Experience
Your company must take preventative measures to ensure the best post-purchase experience possible. Everything from the packaging to how many errors CPG manufacturers make during production plays a role in the experience so pivotal to creating repeat purchases.
Meeting Consumer Expectations
Consumers have an expectation about what your product should deliver based on what they’ve seen in marketing, at the point of purchase, and through their previous category experience. Fail to meet (or exceed) these expectations and your unstable foundation will lead to a poor experience.
Striving Towards Brand Loyalty
Creating brand loyalty doesn’t end after the first purchase. Customer loyalty is generated by consistently delivering the same messaging and post-purchase experience, which compounds the lifetime experience.
Ensuring Seamless Customer Service
Consumer packaged goods companies shouldn’t just improve customer service because it’s the right thing to do; they should do it because it enhances the customer experience. Keeping both of these at the front of your strategy gives you even more reason to seek CANI (constant and never-ending improvement)
To provide exceptional customer service, your brand should be:
- Addressing inquiries at a fast rate
- Reducing friction from the returns process
- Actively seeking consumer feedback.
- Leveraging technology for better experiences.
Ensuring seamless customer service also means not sacrificing the quality of the experience to be more efficient. Chatbots are an example of how you provide a more efficient system for customers but create more work for the customer than is worth.
Consumer brands use loyalty programs to create urgency leading to greater customer demand through reward systems. But loyalty programs should also aim to improve the experience as a part of the marketing strategy.
Gamification is a powerful tool to nurture experience, and CPG brands can use this to their advantage. Whether you are a water bottle brand or produce organic free-range eggs, you must have a loyalty program to improve customer retention and keep your brand experience in mind.
Omnichannel isn’t about presenting yourself to more eyeballs; it’s about giving your existing customers more touchpoints during their monthly shopping. Statistics show that 75% of shoppers visit more than one store weekly—personally, my family shops at three stores per week. I guess we fall within the 67% of those who raised their hand to more than one and then raised their hand to more than two.
So it isn’t just DTC brands that need to be strategic in shifting to omnichannel. Every CPG brand must revisit its existing channels to look for the next opportunity and the correct time to launch.
CPG Experience Tips
As a consumer packaged goods agency, our experience with brands has shown us common themes in what makes a brand successful. Here are some tips from the SmashBrand archives.
You Must Create The Experience
If you do not actively work to create the experience, consumers and media will create it for you. Whether it’s fast-moving or durable goods, your company must take the reins on where the overall experience goes. Gaining agency over the experience means you must address anything that has been decided for you.
Any wrong or damaging consumer assumptions about your brand can and should be addressed. Rather than being silent about a specific aspect of the brand, use it to further your brand story. You can do this through smart packaging at the point of purchase or by including it in your social media marketing.
For example, if you make organic, gluten-free, paleo cookie crumbles, no matter your best production efforts, create videos showing how people can use those crumbles as a topping. Heck, this may lead to a line extension opportunity. You never know!
Become A Data-Driven Brand
Data and analytics play a vital role in understanding consumer behavior and preferences. But if it’s important, why do most brands make investing in this a one-off occurrence? When you define yourself as a data-driven brand, investing in CPG market research and consumer testing becomes a monthly line item.
Making it a monthly line item keeps it top of mind and gives more reason for scheduling meetings to discuss all CPG insights you discover on a more regular cadence. The more often you discuss your learnings, the better you can tailor your marketing campaigns and improve the customer service experience.
As a data-driven brand, establish relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). CPG KPIs include customer satisfaction scores, repeat purchase rates, social media engagement, and brand sentiment analysis. Regularly monitoring and analyzing KPIs for a consumer packaged goods brand ensures you stay focused on the right things.
Strong Ties Loosely Held
Consumer preferences are not static. They are subject to change at a moment’s notice. Whether it is new research about an ingredient leading to a product innovation or a new styles gaining traction thanks to an influencer, preferences evolve (for the better or the worse). Don’t be so committed to a particular preference that you miss out on new market trends.
Conducting market research and keeping your finger on the pulse of any industry developments helps you stay informed and agile. If the situation arises, it puts you in a position for a successful brand pivot.
Data-Driven Brand Development For CPG Brands
SmashBrand is a brand development agency for FMCG and CPG companies. From brand strategy to packaging design testing, our Path To Performance™ process guarantees a retail performance lift. Book a time to discuss your project with our team.
Frequently Asked Questions
How & Where Should I Begin To Improve My CPG Experience?
Improving the experience of your brand first begins with a discovery process where you thoroughly look to understand the brand’s history, including all brand materials and consumer feedback. During brand discovery, you work to understand the brand’s strengths and weaknesses before you then look at the competitors and channels where you identify opportunities for your CPG experience can stand out and get noticed.
Are There Agencies That Can Help Me Improve the Brand Experience with my target audience?
Yes, a CPG brand strategy agency can help you understand how to improve the overall experience. They will guide you through the process, often providing specific deliverables for your brand to use in all branding and marketing campaigns.