THE CATEGORY STORY – make sure your entire organisation clearly understands the way you have defined to grow the category!

Vision or mission statements are nice for product development and the kind of beautiful messages we typically find in advertising, but have you really defined a unique growth path for the entire category demonstrating that your activation strategy towards the Shopsumer will be successful? We often express our commercial strategy in sophisticated statements on how shoppers will be attracted by our brands and thus drive retail sales, but frequently follow the market’s inertia in terms of investment areas, such as advertising and promotions, without really questioning whether this is the best way to increase Shopsumer satisfaction.

In our projects, we therefore use the CATEGORY STORY SHEET ®, a tool that helps to express with what variables, at what investment level and at which touchpoints we implement the Category Story to activate and engage with the Shopsumer.

Category Story Sheet

The basic version of the CATEGORY STORY SHEET® is divided into two main sets of variables, which reflect all the media we can activate to stimulate the Shopsumer at the various touchpoints of his path-to-purchase. The first 7 variables are referring to the direct interaction with the Shopsumer (“Shopsumer touchpoint”), while the second 7 variables are referring to the indirect interaction with the Shopsumer (“retail customer”) through certain commercial activity towards the retailer. The final sheet is elaborated in 3 steps:

  1. Selection of the key variables: by contrasting the company’s behaviour in the category with that of their competitors, the main variables to differentiate your activation approach from them are selected or highlighted (+/0/-).
  2. Defining the activation objective: for each of the selected variables, a specific objective and KPI is defined as to how it contributes to Shopsumer satisfaction, at which touchpoints in the path-to-purchase it will be used and what message needs to be submitted.
  3. Detailing the action plan: concrete actions by client, brand, product and time period are defined (=> see Step 5 in the Shopsumer Activation Strategy®).

So make sure you have a similar tool to be handed out to each of your sales reps, merchandisers, key account managers and the entire commercial team at the headquarter, because driving category growth in a synchronised manner with a unique, operative roadmap is the key to get your customers on your side!