My friend Jon at online grocer Ocado nicely invited me to give a talk at their supplier conference this week. I’m talking about how Ocado helps enable challenger brands because they break the rules of traditional retail.
To help prove my point, I’m showing this photo from a typical British grocery store. I call this “Where’s Waldo” merchandising because it’s so hard to shop (particularly for a master brand like method because the store puts window cleaners in one section and bathroom cleaners in another, etc.) “Where’s Waldo” (known as “Where’s Wally” in the UK) is that classic children’s book showing a crowd of people on every page with Waldo hidden in plain sight.
There are 8 different method products on these shelves, but you’d never know it without a magnifying glass and a lot of time on your hands. Certainly more time than the 4-5 seconds an average consumer spends at shelf. In contrast, Ocado (as an online retailer) has intelligent merchandising and opportunities to tell your brand stories.
Ocado is smaller than most traditional retail chains in the UK. As a result, many brands overlook them as an opportunity to build their business and instead put their major focus on their bigger customers. Even though a thousand other brands are doing exactly the same thing. For all that effort, these brands wind up treading water alongside their competitors in a big bowl of commodity soup.
I would much rather invest in a smaller opportunity where our brand can make a genuine impact than a bigger one where we just get lost in the clutter.
It got me thinking that marketers live in a “Where’s Waldo” world. Many of the “tried-and-true” marketing tactics no longer work because everyone is doing them. Like Waldo, many brands are hidden in plain sight.
Instead of camoflaging your brand in the comfort of the crowd, find those overlooked opportunities where there isn’t as much of a crowd, and make a name for yourself there.