Top tips for maintaining brand control in on-trade promotions

Young smiling waiter using touchpad while working in a pub.

One big benefit of living in a connected world is that brands can have meaningful relationships with consumers across multiple channels and touchpoints. This presents fantastic opportunities to influence purchases in many daily scenarios.

However, the more possible places that consumers can see your brand, the greater the likelihood of you inadvertently sending them mixed messages. Communicating a consistent, convincing message whilst staying in full control of your brand portrayal, is a major challenge in a multichannel environment.

On-trade promotions can be a particular mountain for brands to climb, as you’re one step removed from the end consumer. Either you’re relying on your customer network to develop campaigns from scratch, or you’re putting ideas into the hands of bar managers and hoping that they’re executed correctly.

This doesn’t have to be the case, however. With the right infrastructure, you can make it much easier to maintain brand control in your on-trade promotions – and use creative tools to launch each campaign seamlessly across your customer base. Here are our top tips for helping your brand to reach this authority nirvana.

Tip 1: template your materials

Point of sale material is a powerful tool for brands; 8 out of 10 marketers believe it’s more effective than TV, radio and press advertising, according to a Creo study. However, it will only work in your brand’s favor if it’s on-message and consistent across all venues.

Templating collateral is a really straightforward way to create a suite of assets that convey your key value points. Pubs and bars can then consistently roll them out across their marketing channels. This way, you’re not relying on each venue to use your imagery or messages correctly in their home-grown collateral; you’re giving them materials that you know are on-brand.

This doesn’t mean that your campaigns have to be generic across all venues, though. Many leading brands choose to develop their campaign assets using content creation software, as this enables them to set standardized editable features for each bar to customize.

For example, many venues will want to co-brand collateral with their own logo, images, choice of serving suggestions and prices, but it’s just not feasible to manually redesign each piece of content. POS design software can pay dividends here, as your templates can easily (and quickly) be tailored to the requirements of every venue in your customer base – while ensuring that your sales team can still easily reproduce collateral.

In order to maximize the potential that templating offers, it’s important to think about how technology can be used not just across on-trade collateral, but digital assets as well – to influence consumers even before they walk into a bar.

This is the ultimate way to ensure brand control and build awareness that converts to sales; by developing materials that impact the entire customer journey, from digital advertising and social media materials to on-site assets such as flyers, posters, banners, and coasters.

Tip 2: make it easy for bar managers

One of the reasons that a templated campaign approach is so popular with leading drinks brands is that it doesn’t just make it easy to control campaign assets; it makes life simpler for the bar managers that your sales reps are working with.

The relationship you build with customers is critical to the success of on-trade campaigns, as your brand is literally in their hands. The easier you make it for managers to run an official marketing campaign on your behalf, the greater uptake you’re likely to experience, resulting in a sales uplift for you both.

We’ve already discussed how templating documents enable bar managers to customize elements of campaign materials within your brand guidelines, but there’s another point worth making here. It’s important to look for content design technology that will enable your reps to make changes on-the-spot during meetings – rather than having to brief your design team at a later date.

Investing in POS design software that is accessible on tablet and mobile devices as well as desktop, and can be used both online and offline, will enable your sales reps to strike while the iron is hot and get bar managers to start customizing approved marketing campaigns.

In addition to tailoring assets on the fly (but still keeping control over the end outcome), some leading solutions will even let your reps send those designs to print; the ultimate helpful gesture.

“Consumers have a very real level of expectation that brands should make their products unique and exciting,”

— Edith Hancock, Journalist at The Drinks Business.

Tip 3: train staff to become brand ambassadors

While maintaining control of your on-trade promotions begins with the bar manager, the whole workforce will influence consumers’ perception of your brand.

Once a manager has bought into a campaign, you need to support his or her team with the right educational materials to represent you accurately at the point of sale. Therefore, it pays to think about what assets you may need at the development stage – including FAQ materials that explain the brand story behind your campaign.

A content adaptation platform not only makes the collateral creation process easy; an automated system can create staff materials that match the point of sale messaging. For example, if you are creating a customer menu, it will automatically generate recipe cards based on the serving suggestions each venue has chosen to include. This leaves nothing to chance, giving each member of staff the information they need to execute your campaign perfectly.

Serving up the perfect standard

Ultimately, for your brand to maintain control of on-trade promotions and ensure they deliver on your objectives, each campaign needs to achieve three things: consistency, creativity, and communication.

POS marketing technology is the fastest way to ensure authority while reaching these goals. It enables you to roll-out centrally-developed concepts in a way that fits the bill for each venue. With this approach, your brand is always leading the agenda – even if it’s the venue doing the actual execution.

The right technology platform also makes it easy to brief all those involved in the campaign, to make sure that you’re serving up a consistent standard across all venues, and your marketing promises translate to the end consumer’s drinking experience.

Brandgility is already helping top global drinks brands to execute international on-trade promotions effectively, in an efficient and easy manner. With our software, you can produce fully adaptable templates that bring campaigns to life across your customer network, without ever losing overall control.

2 in 5 consumers choose to upgrade to a premium brand when drinking out of the home, even if that means paying extra.

Request a demo to discover how Brandgility enables your brand to launch centrally-run POS marketing campaigns.


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