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FMCG brand experience: path to purchase in 2023

Our Director of FMCG Growth speaks on the art of creating an ecosystem around the brand and path to purchase in 2023.


Jess Kaye



I’ve been in FMCG marketing for twentyish years now. First as a client and now agency side. What this means is I can remember back in the day when a brand’s ‘path to purchase’ was physical and linear.

See TV ad at home, drive to store, see 6-sheet as you walk in, then the free-standing display unit, shelf barker, special offer, and BOOM - purchase. Job done. Science of marketing textbook written. Let’s all go for lunch at the Ivy.

It made sense then, or at least we thought it did, as digital was only just emerging.

Today’s POV: literally no-one experiences brands like this.

Don’t clog the nozzle

I bought from a beauty brand for the first time recently. It came in beautiful packaging. However, the product clogs the nozzle after three goes…

Customer perception can make or break a brand. It is ultimately how a customer feels about your brand before, during, and after their interactions with you. This impression can have lasting effects on whether or not they shop with you again and if they would recommend your brand to others. In other words, it’s about delivering on your promise (why you exist) and the proof (what you do).

For retail brands and those offering a service – considering the ‘experience’ as part of the brief might seem obvious. How the brand is experienced as a total is what makes it count. So why do we so often box off agency services for FMCG?

We need a joined-up response when tackling an FMCG brief. Working in siloes and only considering one part of the path to purchase, doesn’t work.

Agencies have talked about it for ages. It’s what the client wants, but it rarely happens. Integrated agencies not your thing? That’s okay. But there are still gaps even when competing agencies play nice. Often packaging agencies and shopper teams aren’t even invited to the table until dessert. Coffee and mints even.

We have a collective responsibility to remain connected to the brief, to the client and to each other if we want to make brands actually matter in the real world.

Creating an ecosystem

This is where my role as Director of FMCG Growth can help. Recently, we had a collaborative session with the heads of our Design, Retail, Hybrid, Customer and Digital Experience teams. It has been fascinating for the group to understand each other’s expertise, but also where the crossover lies. It’s now my mission to find a way harness this power.

It's a fine balance. All these services are of course distinct from each other, but they are all laddering up to a total that should be more than the sum of the parts. Of course, we all get so busy it can be hard to ‘look up’ and connect. But we must try.

Brand experience, really, is the art of creating an ecosystem around the brand in such a way that people can fit themselves into it. So that when they interact with your brand then they feel the connection with you. Not marketing to consumers but mattering to people.

We should answer client briefs in the same way, fitting all the parts into it. If we find the same connection, achieving truly great brand experiences will fall naturally, and will include all the aspects of the physical and digital worlds.

Maybe we weren’t so wrong with path to purchase, we just need to extend it, and make it seamless, and user generated. Make it matter to real people.

Want to find out how our Director of FMCG Growth can help your brand? Drop a line to [email protected].


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