Knowledge Bank Blog, Finding New Ideas, Pricing & Promotions, Shopper Communication

Being The Early Bird

In 1605 William Camden, an English antiquarian and historian, published a book of proverbs.

It was here that a common expression first appeared, “the early bird catcheth the worme.”

Lose an ‘eth’ and an ‘e’ and the expression is still going strong today.

“The early bird catches the worm” – the birds that wake up the earliest have the best chance of getting a good meal.  Since no other birds are awake and hunting for worms.

What is true for birds and worms is just as true for brands and shoppers.

In the FMCG world, brands are the birds and shoppers are the worms.

There are only so many shoppers and so many purchase occasions.  If Brand A swoops in and catches the shopper, Brand B can’t catch them this time.  And in some categories (with low purchase frequencies), it might be quite a long time before you get the opportunity to catch them again.

Catching shoppers first is a big competitive advantage.  More worms for you.  Less worms for your competition.

So, how can you catch more shoppers?

Firstly, you need to be FASTER.  Be a first mover.  This doesn’t mean you have to do something that has never been done before.  Most good ideas are already out there.  A competitive advantage comes from seeing what is out there in other categories.  Identifying an idea.  Adapting it in the most relevant way for your category or brand.  Executing with speed and scale.  For instance, your version of the Lindt Pick & Mix solution.

Whilst your competitors are still snoozing, you can be out there catching shoppers.

Secondly, you need to be BETTER.  Shoppers are making quick choices about what to buy.  Category A vs Category B.  Brand A vs Brand B.  They need a simple, compelling reason to buy you.  A competitive advantage comes from knowing what good shopper messaging looks like.  Translating this into the most effective headline for your brand.  Then consistently executing this across touchpoints and over time.  For instance, your version of Activia and their consistent Gut Health messaging.

Whilst your competitors are telling shoppers what they want to tell them, you can be telling shoppers what they need to hear.

Thirdly, you need to be DIFFERENT.  Most shopper activities follow a set of implicit rules.  Think promotions.  Rule 1 = They are focused on this purchase.  They have little, or no, consideration of future purchases.  Rule 2 = They are based on a price discount.  They rarely use a non-price incentive.  Rule 3 = They could be run by any brand.  You can run a half price deal this week. Your competitor can run one next week.  A competitive advantage comes from looking at different ways of doing promotions.  Ones that consider future purchases.  Have non-price incentives.  That only you can do.  For instance, your version of the Innocent Big Knit.

Whilst your competitors are following the rules, you can be out there breaking the rules.

There is a big battle for shoppers out there.  Are you ready to catch them first?

Having talked about being the early bird…

This is a reminder that time is running out (only until 31st March) to take advantage of the early bird offer on the Insight Traction Knowledge Bank.

This is our new subscription service. It gives you instant access to images of effective shopper activity, presentations about winning with shoppers and every blog we’ve written. Easy to search, filter and download. 

Take a look at it in this short video:

If you’d like to know more, simply email 

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