Woman shopping in supermarket

Finding relevance for FMCG brands online

The FMCG industry can have a reputation for being far from ‘fast moving’ when it comes to adopting new marketing practices outside of its traditional media playbook. However with competition rife at-shelf, the impetus to move the consumer interaction online is more relevant than ever.

Picture of Luminary employee, Anna Potter smiling standing in front of a black screen in a green top

By Anna Potter, 2 November 20225 minute read

With promises of hyper-targeting, multi-screening consumers and lower CPMs than could be achieved via the likes of TV, marketing in the digital space offers plenty of pull for FMCG brand owners. Compelling statistics aside, the question remains – How much does your average consumer really want to engage with their brand of dishwashing detergent or muesli bars online? Marketers are often left with the sinking feeling that they are talking to themselves when coming up with strategies to create an engaging FMCG digital strategy. However relevancy can be achieved by using the below steps to ensure your digital FMCG strategy is a valued and sales-driving component of your marketing mix.

Keep the consumer at the heart

The best brand strategies always maintain the consumer at their heart, and your online strategy should be no different. This can call for some specific research to deeply understand your consumers’ online habits and to add a new layer of digital insight to your brand personas. This can take the form of consumer qualitative interviews, combined with a quantitative survey to enable the adaptation of your consumer insights into actionable online ideas. Understanding if your consumer is interested in understanding your sustainability work, looking for dietary information, or hungry for recipe inspiration will ensure a focused and enjoyable user experience on your site.

Social relevance

With Australians being avid social media fans, a social strategy will likely play a top-of-the-funnel role for most brands. Finding out which platforms your consumers spend their social media time on and what type of content they are interested in engaging with is the key to keeping your brand top of mind - simply using the platform for product shots and NPD launches is unlikely to be a good investment of your resources. 

After establishing your consumers’ interests, you can craft a content strategy to service those needs, building subject matter expertise and driving brand personality. Building a genuine brand personality takes time, and social media can be a great playground to flex your brand’s position on topical and trending subject matter. Holding a position on topical current issues certainly has the potential for polarisation, but if there is genuine alignment with your brand purpose and values it should never feel forced or read as virtue-signalling. 

A great example in FMCG is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, who take the bold positioning of standing for peace and love and have made unabashed statements to align themselves with a multitude of causes that reflect their purpose, from climate change, to the plight of refugees, and standing with the LBGTQI community. Less socially focused ideas such as product hacks, recipe ideas, new product usage ideas and brand and influencer collaborations can also contribute to positively building your brand image online and staying top of mind in the inspiration seeking/exploratory phase of the consumer journey.

Ben & Jerry's peace pop

User Generated Content

The treadmill of generating fresh content can feel relentless. Splicing your scheduled content plan with some user generated content can be a wonderful way to increase engagement and supplement your brand content needs. Particularly for FMCG brands in the food and beverage industry, or the beauty industry, the natural inclination for consumers to generate content makes this an easy pairing. 

Whether it’s beautiful recipe creations, meal and snack hacks, lunchbox inspo, beauty tutorials or before and after shots, consumers love to show off their creations. This content can become a great bridge between your social media and the website, creating a gallery of inspiring  product use ideas and encouraging consumers to genuinely be a part of your brand's community.

Retailer connection

Although online transactions are increasing, the majority of FMCG purchases are still made in-store. However, with the proportion of consumers leaning into online grocery shopping growing, your brand should be visible for this shift in shopping dynamics. Ensuring an easy click through to retailer pages is an obvious start, but also integrated online tie-ins with customer-led business initiatives, and highlighted specials can further streamline the consumer journey, offering them relevant decision making information and enabling tracking on the path to purchase. Many brands now connect to the major retailers’ sites via a simple plug-in such as Channelsight that offers up for the consumer where the product is stocked and even pricing information for comparison to ensure a useful and seamless pathway to purchase.

Converging online and offline

No digital strategy should exist in isolation, and if used with strategic intent, QR codes have the opportunity to provide an easy shortcut to valuable consumer content that previously wouldn’t fit on the tight real estate of product packaging. In its simplest form, a QR code can be great for providing a link to a recipe featuring the product, an easy way for consumers to learn more about purpose-driven work or to enter a competition. However there are many more interactive and engaging uses such as taking a poll or offering a special personalised deal which can amp up your brand participation. Key to maintaining relevance again comes back to understanding your consumer needs so you can create an integrated brand experience that never feels forced.

Capitalising on the online migration

In a world where consumers are being bombarded with advertising at every turn online, being a brand that truly values and heroes its consumers and their needs is a surefire way to find genuine relevance for your FMCG brand in the digital space. With more and more consumers shopping online, building an owned presence online should be a critical part of the modern day FMCG marketing playbook to bank relevancy and success in the future. 

Main image by Freepik.

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