Knowledge Bank Blog, Finding New Ideas

Cross Pollination

Let’s start with a question…

What are the most important living beings on the planet?

Here’s a clue.  Think pollinators.

Pollinators are animals that move pollen from one flower to another.  In doing so, they enable plants to make seeds and reproduce.

And the most important pollinator?  Bees.

Bees pollinate around 70 of the top 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world.  Bees are responsible for $30bn a year in crops.

If bees weren’t around, we might lose all the plants that they pollinate.  Then all of the animals that eat those plants.  And so on up the food chain.  We’d really struggle to feed a global human population of 8 billion.

As Albert Einstein (it’s always Einstein, Churchill or Twain, right?) apparently said, “if the bees disappear, humans will have 4 years to live.”

Best take care of the bees then.

Why are we talking about this?  Bees spend a lot of their time collecting pollen.  They take it from one plant.  Transfer it to another plant.  The plants reproduce.

In the FMCG world ideas are like pollen.  They already exist somewhere.  They are there across different retailers.  Across different categories.  Across different brands.

We need to be the bees.  Collecting these ideas.  Taking them from one category.  Then adapting and reproducing them in our category.

The thing is we’re not very good at doing it.

Too often we think narrowly.  We look within our category.  What does our category normally do?  What are our immediate competitors doing?  This limits your potential ideas.

Instead we need to think broadly.  What do other categories do?  What are brands outside our category doing?  This expands your potential ideas.

So, how can you become more like bees?  Collecting ideas and cross pollinating them?

Let’s take shopper messaging as one example.

Want to get shoppers to start buying…?  You could look at Kleenex, “Save the Sleeve.”  A simple prompt that shoppers will immediately recognise.  What could be the equivalent in your category?

Want to reduce the risk of trial for shoppers…?  You could look at Oatly, “Start Small.”  Directing shoppers to a lower volume, lower cost product to try first.  What could be the equivalent in your category?

Want to prompt impulse purchases…?  You could look at Wrigley’s classic, “Got Gum?” or Coca Cola’s, “Thirsty?”  The answer to the question leads shoppers to the purchase.  What could be the equivalent in your category?

Want to reinforce the value of your product…?  You could look at Pampers, “Change less, save more” or Plenty, “Absorbs more so you use less.”  Showing shoppers that paying more can save you money.  What could be the equivalent in your category?

Want to reframe the role of your product to shoppers…?  You could look at Fever Tree, “If ¾ of your drink is the mixer, mix with the best.”  Getting shoppers to rethink the importance of a product.  What could be the equivalent in your category?

These are just a few examples.  There are lots of others.  This is just one area – messaging.  There are lots of others – new product launches, promotions, activation, merchandising, displays.

The foundations of most ideas are already out there.  You just need to collect them.  Bring them back.  Start the cross pollination process.

Be the bees of the FMCG world.

We have something that will help you & your teams with this.  Look out for it in our next blog.

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