Let’s face it, media centres in retailers have traditionally had a bit of a bad rep. And in some cases, rightly so. Some saw the sale of media assets as an opportunity to deliver more profit and margin and nothing more. In the worst cases, media wasn’t even put up in store, there’s no reporting on its performance and certainly no strategic thought as to how it will impact shopper behaviour. Unsurprisingly this approach leads to a significant disconnect between the role of a media centre and a dilution in its value to brands.
But we believe ‘media centres’ are about so much more than just media income. They should enable an opportunity for brands to work more closely with their retailers, to share knowledge and skills to develop amazing campaigns that spark interest with the shopper and deliver loyalty and sales.
Both sides have so much to offer to each other but often the opportunity is untapped.
I grew up in the brand marketing world of P&G and my job was to be obsessed with hair removal. From epilators to waxing, from beard trimmers to razors. It was my job to know everything there was to know about consumer’s attitudes towards ways to become groomed. I know its weird, but I loved it and can bore anyone with it over dinner (I don’t get many invites). But for all that knowledge on the category, my knowledge on the different attitudes and missions of an Asda shopper vs. a Tesco shopper were (very) limited.
As I’ve learnt working closely with retailers over the past 6 years, they are equally obsessed with their shoppers. They know why they come to their stores, how they behave when they are inside and how to influence them in that moment. They may have limited category knowledge (and probably a lot less interest in hair removal than I had) but they are the shopper gurus. No brand comes close to their level of knowledge.
And that’s where the magic is. Like the power rangers of old, by joining forces retailers and brands can really help each other and become a greater force. Combining that deep consumer knowledge with a clear shopper lens results in new value streams for both the brand and the retailer.
We had a great example of a couple of years ago with Microsoft as we worked together with Shop Direct on a Christmas Xbox campaign. Through their consumer research, Microsoft were able to tell us the patterns in behaviours of Xbox users – i.e. what were people most interested in 3, 6, 12 months after purchasing a console and the core messages that were relevant to them at this time.
Shop Direct were able to identify these behaviours through browsing and purchasing behaviours and set up groups of high potential buyers for each buying occasion. Then using Microsoft’s messaging hierarchy and converting it into a credible ‘Very’ tone of voice, we were able to utilise these groups to reach high potential buyers with effective messaging efficiently across the season through on-site and targeted outreach media.
As you can imagine, the results were very impressive and has led to the campaign being repeated year on year.
And that’s just one example. There have been plenty more.
Media centres are more than just about media. They are about partnerships, about knowledge share and ultimately about creating great customer experiences.
Now I think about it, maybe we should call them Brand Partnership Centres instead…