Activating with ‘SOUL’

How the platforms of ‘Story, Occasion, Unique, Local’ can help push the confectionery & fine foods category towards US$10 billion in sales.

Nestlé International Travel Retail says that to hit US$10 billion in ten years the industry should activate its ‘key growth drivers’, delivering these through rich and engaging brand stories while offering exclusive products and experiences. That strategic direction can be summed up under the brand building mantra of ‘SOUL’, or ‘Story, Occasion, Unique, Local’.

The SOUL principles can be summed up as follows:

Story: Aspirational and shareable brand stories

Occasion: For me, for you, for us – understanding consumer needs

Unique: Exclusive products and experiences

Local: Now and nowhere else

At the heart of the SOUL strategy is engagement with the traveller in an attempt to lift sales and conversion in the category.

“Confectionery & fine food clearly has a role to play in our industry,” explains Nestlé International Travel Retail General Manager Stewart Dryburgh. “It is not always a primary driver to get consumers into the store, but it can play a key secondary role in growing basket spend. Our challenge is to engage consumers and drive spend.”

Shoppers today are all about the now, not about tomorrow. They are often digitally distracted. Footfall is consequently decreasing because they have other options for their time spent post-security at the airport. Nestlé’s solutions to these challenges form the basis of its SOUL strategy.

NITR says: “As a generation that wants to be in control of what it experiences, millennials are natural explorers – looking for the right experience that fits their mood and personality. Their use of technology is also drastically different, they are more likely to disengage for entertainment and social media, as soon as they have dwell time at the airport.

“An important millennial trait however is an interest in ‘experience’, with 72% of consumers more interested in spending money on experiences rather than materials things (American Express). The rich and vast dining opportunities at airports, together with fast Wi-Fi access and desire to share their experiences on social media, are far more important than the money and time spent on duty free shops and airport lounges, urging brands to reconnect with these consumers.”

Building on this theme, Dryburgh adds: “Travellers are more demanding, everything must be instant, social and on-demand. But if you do deliver what they want, you get a fantastic return and win big.”

“Brands have to engage with shoppers,” he adds. “This means on social media and in the store and airport environment. Consumers should want to see what is going on in the duty free store, because if not they will miss out on something exciting.”

The strategic initiatives behind SOUL offer something different and bring brands to life in new ways.

Dryburgh says: “Just consider the Unique aspect of travel retail-exclusive lines such as Kit Kat Senses or Nestlé Swiss. These products are not available on the domestic market. Consumers will not find them online as they search for ‘best buys’. They are available here, now and only in travel retail.”

The company this year also launched high-profile activations in global airports which focus on a red London bus-shaped gondola for Kit Kat. NITR said they would create both Sense of Place and a ‘sense of origin’.

The first KitKat ‘Bus’ activations were trialled in Latin America, with version 2.0 upgrades launched at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and Singapore Changi Terminal 2 in May 2019, followed by installations at DXB (Dubai International) from June.

The campaign is firmly rooted in the travel experience, with unique aspects and a strong sense of location. Aside from the London bus theme, it incorporates a digital interactive screen that allows travellers to select fun videos to play and write personal messages that appear on the screen. Consumers can take photos/selfies that incorporate the message. The bus has been used to highlight the Senses range while also displaying other brand formats such as Chunky, Sharing Bags and Multipacks.

“Where we installed buses we have seen a positive impact on penetration and increased conversion with total sales increases of +40%,” says Dryburgh. “The bus is the perfect tool for KitKat; both are instantly recognisable, have huge global appeal and are linked through both the strong red colour and British history.”

Used in conjunction with NITR’s SOUL framework, Dryburgh says:

“We can create the opportunities to kick-start a vigorous new growth curve for confectionery and fine foods.”

The key message, says the company, is to “deliver aspirational and shareable brand stories and enrich consumers’ travel experiences, [allowing them] to take control back of their free time and spend money on exclusive and unique products”.

Spotlight Series

December 2019

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