Magazine article Marketing

POP: It's Not All about Price

Magazine article Marketing

POP: It's Not All about Price

Article excerpt

Promotions have long been POP's domain, but, writes Nicola Cottam, the medium can help build brands too.

The emergence of plasma screens in retail outlets around two years ago appeared to mark the dawning of a new era of employing in-store marketing to build brands. But while brands fell over themselves to adopt the technological advancements in the realms of point-of-purchase (POP), the medium continues to be regarded as a mere promotional tool.

Brands' willingness to take a gamble on such new technology does, however, indicate the value they place on POP. This is a view that has spread across the industry over the past three years in particular, as a lot more emphasis has been placed on POP to enhance a brand's presence.

Charles Kessler, deputy chairman at POP specialist Kesslers International, explains: 'POP is one of the few marketing tools which works for all three vital categories: the brand, the retailer and the consumer. POP display also offers a perfect brand-communication vehicle to cross international boundaries, and it communicates to a mass audience. This is crucial considering the declining impact of advertising, and is illustrated by Procter & Gamble's announcement that it intends to reduce advertising on television from 90% to 80% or below.'

There are still some sceptics who doubt the efficacy of POP to build brands but, generally, the message is getting through to marketers. The result is some highly successful POP executions, with floor graphics, sensory activities and lifestyle promotional links all effectively bringing the brand message home to consumers. The Simpson Group, for example, has just launched a POP concept in the gaming retail industry, which informs consumers about how computer games work using in-store imagery that literally 'jumps off the shelf'.

The agency's group sales and marketing director, David Pass, says that such innovation in POP is key to developing a brand. 'POP is about engaging customers and, at the moment, we are looking at ways of bringing it alive using electronic lights and paper that can emit light, for use in gondola ends or on free-standing units. A successful POP strategy can consistently result in double-digit sales uplifts, and sometimes it can be as much as 40% or 50%, especially if the product has been taken off the shelf and put on a dedicated stand.'

Cocktail Marketing, which specialises in developing strategic endorsements between brands, has executed high-profile campaigns involving the Lawn Tennis Association and Thorntons chocolates, and Odeon cinemas with Play.com, among others. Chief executive Chris Reed believes that brand endorsements through lifestyle associations are hard to beat as marketing tools. 'The partnership between Odeon and Play.com was mutually beneficial,' he says. 'Play.com was able to benefit from Odeon's extensive pounds 1.8m media campaign through endorsements and Odeon benefited from increased ticket sales due to the incentive of a free DVD offer from Play.com. The brands' close lifestyle associations were key to the campaign's success.'

This targeted rationale is an important component in POP campaigns, confirms Phillipe Von Staussenberg, executive chairman at Mood Media Group. 'POP needs to target a specific interested audience. Tesco found it impossible to work with plasma screens because, with 20,000 items in-store, it was unworkable. For retailers such as Gap and Mango, however, TV promotions played in-store are perfect because the audience relates to the products. Toni&Guy's in-store video is fantastic. It is an ideal location for video because there is a captive audience.'

If POP is to be effective in building a brand, however, it must form part of an integrated campaign.Gekko marketing director Daniel Todaro cites Coke Zero as an example. 'A large budget was invested in POP, which includes displays and rebranding of stores,' he says. 'While it is great to see recognition of the benefits of POP in driving sales, the activity would not have been successful without the advertising and print campaign, which launched the brand to consumers, raised awareness and drove people to look for the product in-store. …

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