Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

KLIM milk powder is a Nestle product popular when I lived in Saudi Arabia.  Try spelling Klim right to left ( backwards) and you will discover a great brand name for an instant milk product. Apply the same principle to YTIVITAERC and you will discover the theme of today’s column.

I am bored with the majority of today’s brand promotional programs.
It appears that many companies review last year’s plan, update and repeat ! Don’t mistake me for a sentimental old timer, but in store merchandising still creates excitement and builds business. I remember when as a young P & G salesman, I would encourage my stores to display dishwashers from a local appliance store surrounded by a pallet of Cascade in order to sell more dishwasher detergent.

Today, I love the story of Rio Mare, Europe’s leading tuna fish brand. Tuna is a tough category, driven by price promotions. Rio Mare is also a premium brand , with superior ingredients and processing. Still, Rio Mare enjoys double digit growth in many emerging markets. How do they do it ? I recently visited Dubai and Qatar where I counted massive displays everywhere featuring a promotion where the shopper received a free casserole dish with the purchase of Rio Mare. In Dubai, you can discover taxi’s painted in Rio Mare’s distinctive salmon,blue and orange colors.

How do we inject Creativity and new ideas into our promotional programs ?

Creativity Workshop 
Schedule a day long brainstorming session outside the office. Search for an inspirational site, such as an art museum, historical monument or even a sports arena. Hire a motivational speaker from outside the industry to stimulate discussion. Encourage each team member to generate two good ideas for the event. Leave all cell phones and laptops in the car to avoid distraction.

Co-Marketing Activity
 Every food brand “shares the plate” with other related products.
Non-food products such as Household cleaners and laundry aids are combined to present consumer solutions. Approach related, “adjacent” brands  to create co-marketing promotions. Costs can be shared and you may discover a friendly “non-competitor” to benchmark best practices.

Distributor Events
 Entrepreneurial distributors serve as magicians at designing unique programs. Their extensive rolodex allows them to sync with a retailers favorite cause or leverage the popularity of local sports teams. A successful strategy is to encourage a distributor  to run a group promotion for all their brands with a charitable overlay.

Online Insights
 Look to the internet and social media for learning on breakthrough new ideas.  How are giants such as Amazon and Ocado pairing your products for their online customers ?  What topics are hot with supermarket bloggers ? How do we translate these insights into a meaningful promotional campaign ?

Sales Contest
 Everyone loves the excitement of a sales contest. Why not reward your distributor brand managers for the best creative event measured by incremental volume ?
First prize could be a “Design your Dream Trip of a Lifetime” where the top prize is $10,000 to go anywhere in the world.

Leading companies are devoted to a spirit of  innovation and creativity. Ultimately a recipe of traditional price promotions and coupons dulls the consumer response. YTIVITAERC ! Sometimes you just need to address promotions from a different point of view.