Meet the Chairman

By Andy Youings. 20th March 2018
Meet the Chairman

As well as providing expertise and insight through our regular blog articles, as a people business we feel it’s also important to introduce you to some of the people behind our news and views. And what better place to start than to meet Fizz Experience Chairman, Founder and all-round inspiration, Jill Pinner.  We sat down for coffee and a sandwich and chatted experiential marketing, advice for clients and what makes Fizz Experience special.

We hope you enjoy.


When did you first begin your career in Experiential Marketing?

I first joined WDS as an invoice clerk (1998). Before this I had a range of jobs including as a Director of Communications within the wine trade, a beautician, an area manager for a cosmetics brand and a chef!

What first attracted you to the industry? Why did you get into experiential?

Two things really. Firstly was as a consumer, I just really loved the whole concept of ‘try before you buy’. To have this knowledge and experience before you commit to a purchase just seemed to make perfect sense to me. Secondly, it was a ‘eureka’ moment of finding an industry that combined all the skills gained from my previous roles into one. Being able to take my sales, culinary, presentation and people management skills into one industry was amazing. It needed everything I’d learnt up until that point.

How and why did you start/buy the business?

Because of my experience and previous roles I progressed quite rapidly within the company until I was eventually invited to become a director of the business. Then, in 2006 the opportunity to buy the business from the previous owner presented itself and I grabbed it with both hands!

Why is experiential marketing so important for brands and retailers?

The power of experience and try before you buyEssentially it means the public know what they’re getting. It removes all of the guesswork and risk because it’s transparent and honest. There’s an old saying that “people buy from people” and I believe this is 100% true. Experiential marketing provides the opportunity for any brand and product to make that direct, human connection with consumers and this is a powerful thing. Ultimately, this makes for a more trustworthy relationship between brand and consumer.

What’s your top tip(s) for successful campaigns?

  • Be realistic. Experiential marketing is a people business dealing with human beings. Things won’t always go as you expect!
  • Make it fun – both for the consumer and the person delivering the experience.
  • Choose the right people. It’s important to be honest about the product/brand and the audience you are trying to target. This should be reflected in the skills, personality etc. of the brand ambassador. It has to be plausible to be successful.

What’s your favourite memory from your time in experiential marketing?

It’s the people elements. Specifically, watching people who have worked for us make choices to fulfil personal goals and ambitions. Usually we’ve enabled and empowered them to make those choices. Sadly for Fizz, this sometimes results in a member of the team leaving to pursue another path but I still take huge pride in watching them move on to bigger and better things. Aside from this, another favourite memory was winning our first Gold Field Marketing & Brand Experience Award (2012). It was the perfect recognition for all the hard work.

What do you think makes Fizz special?

We are a realistic, honest company…if we don’t think something’s possible, we’ll say. Importantly, we look after our people because they are the frontline of what we do. There’s a phrase that we use internally which I think sums it up perfectly: “Fun Company, Serious Business.”

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Optimistic. Daft. Kind.

Describe the team of people working at Fizz?

Loyal, funny, hardworking. Family!

Proudest moment during your time for Fizz?

Jill with Fizz Brand Ambassador of the Year

It has to be our annual achievement awards event (photo opposite: Jill presenting the 2017 award for Brand Ambassador of the Year to Joanne Blythe) to recognise and celebrate the best people across our business. Being able to reward and acknowledge the finest performances across Fizz just makes me so proud of the people we have.

What are the biggest challenges in the industry at the moment?

Keeping up with technology has to be one of the biggest – especially finding clever ways to combine technology with our services to provide a better return for our clients. Other than this, it’s important to keep it fresh and new. Never get complacent.

Outside of work, what else do you get up to?

Spending time with my grand children and family – laughing and eating, usually! In addition I like to travel, be happy and get scared every now and again.

Talk to us about how we can create great customer experiences for your brand in 2018.

Email: or call 01306 644630.

Food & drink in-store sampling – the benefits to brands and retailers.

For our last blog, we took a detailed look at the health and beauty sector and the in-store customer experience. In particular, how it can help to drive sales and consumer awareness for new and established brands. This week, we explore the benefits to another of our key sectors of expertise; food and drink. For the last 30 years, we have worked extensively across brands in the sector – from smoothies and champagne to curries and crisps (so we know our onions, so to speak). Fizz has helped to deliver measurable benefits through in-store sampling experiences for countless brands. Our activity has also benefited retailers such as John Lewis, Whole Foods Market and Costco Wholesale to increase sales and provide an enjoyable experience for their customers.

If you are a brand or retailer in this sector, there are some important objectives that are key to success. We explore these and demonstrate how in-store experiences can be used to deliver important benefits to your brand.

Brand objectives

To begin with, what are the common goals for brands within the retail environment in order to achieve success with retailers? We could list many but we believe there are four that are crucial for brands to make a success of retail listings:

  • Stand out from the competition. The sector is a hugely crowded marketplace – product USPs (unique selling points) must be clearly stated in order differentiate from others within the category.
  • Build the brand. Engaging consumers in-store can help break long-held consumer loyalties and break consumers of their buying habits.
  • Secure initial and repeat sales. FMCG goods live and die by their ability to not only win new customers but to keep these over a long period of time.
  • Communicate the product proposition. In-store activity forces brands to ‘keep it simple’ and is a good test of the quality of a brands’ proposition. If it can’t be clearly and easily explained in a few minutes the chances are the consumer won’t be able understand and will purchase an alternative product.

Retailer objectives

Whilst retailers have objectives that are unique to its business, there are objectives that are common for in-store experiences such as tasting events and product demonstrations. Each are dependent on the others to be successful:

  • Drive footfall. Increasing the number of shoppers into a store is the first step in growing sales.
  • Increase basket spend. Once a customer is in-store, it’s important to provide a depth of product range and choice that drives basket spend.
  • Deliver a better shopping experience. Consumers have never had greater choice in where and when to shop. Therefore, availability and price are no longer the only considerations; quality of shopping experience also matters.
  • Grow word of mouth. Success still relies on the oldest and most powerful marketing tool there is – word of mouth. Retailers need regular shoppers to recommend to friends and family in order to win increased footfall at competitors’ expense.

How does in-store sampling help?

Throughout our three decades of working alongside brands and retailers, we have witnessed the power of the in-store experience to meet these objectives. Events such as food tastings and product demonstrations achieve this through the following:

  • Encourages consumer trial. By literally taking the brand off the shelves and into the hands of shoppers, it enables shoppers to try new products. This, in turn, allows brands and retailers prove products against established brands.
  • Increases spend. In-store sampling has been proven to deliver sales uplifts of over 250% (which also delivers a measurable return on investment).
  • Influences future purchasing. Shoppers will often make future purchases of products sampled in-store, meaning sales continue after the activity has ended.
  • Consumers love to try before they buy. By delivering an improved shopping experience, retailers will grow footfall and win shopper preference.
  • Builds advocates and awareness.In-store sampling will drive consumers to share these experiences with friends and family. This drives vital word-of-mouth marketing.

The good news – our findings on in-store sampling

Keen to test our experience and observations, in 2017 we conducted a simple exit survey of shoppers at a retail client during a 4 day period of in-store sampling. We asked over 2,000 shoppers:

Findings from shopper exit survey re in-store sampling

The results speak for themselves. In-store sampling saw a majority participation rate (60%). Without it, the products being sampled were far less like to have been purchased without this first-hand experience (88% said they wouldn’t purchase without trying first). Not only this, the majority of participants (58%) were likely to share the experience through word-of-mouth. And for the large majority (87%) it made their shopping experience more enjoyable; increasing the likelihood of remaining a customer. Finally, most shoppers (95%) said that sampling encouraged them to try new products – hugely important for brands.

The conclusion? In-store sampling experiences are both influential and enjoyable for your customers.


FOOD & DRINK CASE STUDY: The Food Warehouse in-store sampling

Fizz was approached by Iceland Foods to deliver a fully managed in-store sampling service to support its new retail format, The Food Warehouse. The objective was to grow its sales while continuing to differentiate itself from both the core Iceland brand as well as defend its position against continued competition from other discount food multiples.

At a glance:

  • 11 locations
  • 40 week campaign
  • 1,059 sampling days
  • Fully managed in-store food sampling service.

Food sampling in The Food Warehouse


Food Warehouse client testimonialThe team at Fizz worked closely with colleagues at The Food Warehouse to make the campaign a success and ensure no negative operational impact on our clients’ employees. Our head office and field personnel paid close attention to every detail to deliver a team of skilled and qualified food sampling experts to deliver a service to meet and exceed the objectives set. Whilst we can’t share the specifics of our clients sales uplifts and incremental sales, the results delivered by the campaign were met with the following feedback from our client.


And remember, it’s not just food and drink we’re experienced in. Visit our case study pages for other examples across health, beauty, technology and more. For more information call 01306 644630 or email


Creating award winning in-store beauty experiences

By Andy Youings. 15th February 2018
Creating award winning in-store beauty experiences

In-store beauty expertAt Fizz, we like to think we know a thing or two about working with health and beauty brands to create in-store beauty experiences. Over the past three decades we’ve represented some of the industry’s best loved brands inside high street retailers all over the UK. From established leaders like Max Factor to fresh challengers such as H2O+ (see case study below), we approach each campaign in a similar way. We begin by understanding the brand challenges and objectives, followed by recognising the needs of the consumer. Only then can we weave the two together in a customer experience that demonstrates why a product works whilst communicating the story of the brand. 

In this article we explain this approach in a little more detail. We also share an in-store beauty case study demonstrating this approach in a real-world situation.


Brand challenges (objectives).

For brands, there are two types of challenge. Some are common and apply to almost every brief. Others are more unique; demanding more creativity in order to achieve. Let’s look at some common examples.

Common challenges:

Health and beauty is a highly competitive marketplace. For this reason, one of the key requirements is to elevate a brand in-store in the eyes of consumers and stand out against the competition. Others will usually include driving sales and ensuring consumers understand the key features and benefits of the product.

Unique challenges:

It gets interesting when we add in the unique challenges for the brand and product in question. And the newer the brand, the bigger this list can be. For example, a lack of in-house client resource can require an agency to deliver a ‘360 degree’ approach to deliver multiple aspects of the campaign. Likewise, if the brands relationship with the retailer is a new one this can create further challenges. For example, ensuring a limited period of in-store promotion (where the product is ‘spotlighted’ by the retailer as NEW) is maximised. Finally, being a new brand can also mean the retailers own staff don’t fully understand a product – potentially jeopardising sales longer term.

Customer needs.

In-store beauty experience for Max FactorNext are the needs of the customer. For beauty brands, individual characteristics such as skin type, hair condition, allergies etc. are important considerations. It is these, together with consumer questions about suitability and application that increase the importance of having trained experts at the point of purchase. In addition, many consumers like to delve deeper into a brand to understand core values such as sustainability, provenance and other ethical concerns in order to truly buy-in to a new product. And finally of course, every consumer prefers to “try before they buy” ahead of fully committing to a purchase.

Creating the in-store beauty experience.

The final stage is to combine the challenges and needs into an engaging in-store beauty experience and create a campaign that meets its objectives. At Fizz, we believe this rests around three key areas:

Bringing the brand to life

Key to success is to bring the core of the brand, its values and the key benefits to life in-store. By showing consumers what is important about the brand, they are most likely to learn.

Prove the product works

Beauty nail technicianSecondly, a face-to-face interaction is your opportunity to prove your products’ benefits. By demonstrating the impact your offer can bring will all but eliminate any objections to purchase.

Get buy-in for the long term

Finally, the consumer needs to be taken on a journey in order to buy-in to the brand and its values. This marks the beginning of what should be a deeper relationship with customers – vital in establishing long term brand advocates.


The following case illustrates this approach.

IN-STORE BEAUTY CASE STUDY: H2O+ “Discover Hydration” in M&S Beauty


H2O Discover Hydration Experience

Fizz created and delivered an in-store beauty experience to take customers on a journey to “Discover Hydration” (the key brand benefit and message). In-store point-of-sale material allowed customers to quickly identify and understand the brand, the products and the importance of hydration. Fizz beauty experts delivered the “Moisture Rush Experience” demonstrating the unique and compelling product features to customers. This allowed them to see and feel the benefits for themselves. A strong promotional offer of a Free Gift with Purchase helped to drive sales. Finally, a cleverly branded bottle of water aided brand recall and the key product benefit (hydration) once customers had left the store.


beauty testimonialKey to the campaign was the exceptional quality, skill and experience of the Fizz beauty team. In the first pre-campaign phase, each was carefully profiled and matched against the needs of the brand. This stage also measured suitability against the criteria for working in M&S – a retailer renowned for its quality of service. Once selected, a second phase of face-to-face interviews allowed the best candidates to be identified. Finally, Fizz delivered a pre-campaign training day together with the client at the M&S training centre in White City, London. This ensured every member of the team was fully equipped with the information and skills needed to make the campaign a success.



100% coverage, zero complaints, over 250% uplift in sales, and a Field Marketing Award for ‘Perfect Service’.

Fizz team of beauty experts for H2O+

And remember, it’s not just health and beauty we’re experienced in. Visit our case study pages for other examples across food, drink, technology and more. For more information call 01306 644630 or email

Seasonal gifting and the experience

By Andy Youings. 2nd February 2018
Seasonal gifting and the experience

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we begin what is known at Fizz Towers as the “gifting season”. Representing a series of key dates through the retail calendar, each presents brands and retailers with opportunities to engage shoppers and drive sales. And don’t panic if you haven’t planned specific valentine’s activity – there are other events to come. Come with us as we share some tips for making the most of seasonal gifting.

Why is seasonal gifting important for brands and retailers?

Seasonal gifting is vital for many reasons. As market-wide events, each creates heightened consumer awareness and intent to purchase. This “planned spending” in the minds of consumers presents a greater opportunity to drive sales. The desire to spend also creates a more open-minded shopper; providing the chance to deliver a more engaging experience. It’s no coincidence that many seasonal events also represent the traditional periods of peak sales. Footfall is likely to be its highest and therefore the best chance to optimise sales.

When are the key periods?

Valentine’s Day is the first of five important dates in the retail calendar. If you haven’t planned for the Day for Love, there are four more dates to consider:

  • Mother’s Day (11th March)
  • Easter (1st April)
  • Father’s Day (17th June)
  • Christmas (25th Dec).

Ok, we know you probably have these dates but we like to be thorough! It’s also worth noting that the next key event (Mother’s Day) is traditionally the second most valuable (after Christmas). We love our mums.

The challenges and techniques for activating seasonal gifting.

With every opportunity also comes a challenge, and seasonal gifting is no exception. Seasonal events are periods of great competition so everyone wants a piece of the action. And to make matters worse, they take place for limited periods of time. Get it wrong and you have to wait another 12 months to try again. We need to work hard to stand out. Fortunately, there are lots of techniques to help you stand out and win sales –  let’s explore a few here.

Lindt seasonal gifting

Brand ambassadors

Placing highly-trained brand experts is a proven method of driving sales. Able to answer consumer questions and offer gifting advice, these guys and gals are vital. Perhaps you’re a son looking for a Mother’s Day gift of skincare? Fizz beauty experts can provide assistance in understanding the product best suited to your beautiful mum’s complexion.

Product samplings and demonstrations

At the same time, brand ambassadors can deliver a first-hand experience to shoppers. Allowing consumers to try before they buy has been proven to drive sales both on the day and in future.

Merchandising and point-of-sale

In addition to brand experts it’s important to have a strong visual presence. Eye catching, bold displays that clearly state offers and benefits help shoppers make a beeline for your brand. Everything from FSDUs to shelf wobblers can help catch a gift-buyer’s eye.

Store staff trainers

Often overlooked but ensuring the retailers own staff understand your product can have a massive impact. With a little forward-thinking, teams of trainers can be deployed to visit stores and ensure your brand is front of mind. Shoppers are likely to ask store staff for help and advice and you want to be the solution they recommend!

Packs and multi-buys

Seasonal gifting displayIn addition to the above, seasonal events are a great opportunity to create gift-packs and multi-buys for maximum return. From pamper kits for Mother’s Day to Easter chocolate selection boxes; gift packs make an easy choice for shoppers.

Reward the giver with a free product with purchase

Don’t forget the giver! By offering an incentive to purchase such as free gift you give the shopper a further reason to purchase. And as a bonus, your brand is in the hands to two consumers, rather than one! Molton Brown are fantastic at this – always supplying additional sample-sized products with every purchase.

Extend the reach with social media

And finally, don’t forget to think outside of the store in order to reach more people. Social media competitions and giveaways can be used with specific campaign mechanics (hashtags) to spread awareness beyond the shop floor.

Pop-up stores for e-commerce retailers

The gifting season provides the ideal opportunity for e-commerce brands to present themselves in a bricks and mortar store via a ‘pop-up’ environment. This drives sales and offers consumers the opportunity to experience the brand as they haven’t been able to before. Physically engaging with a product, asking questions and receiving gift suggestions provides a powerful face-to-face experience.


Which brands and retailers should take note?

Mothers Day seasonal gifting eventThe beauty of seasonal gifting is it covers a broad-spectrum of products. Consideration of the most popular gifts is a great way to understand which brands and retailers apply. For example, Mother’s Day would suit any brands and retailers offering:

  • Beauty (skincare, make-up, perfume, etc.)
  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Wines & Spirits
  • Homewares
  • Flowers
  • Chocolates
  • Stationery

If you offer a product within any of these categories, March 11th should be a key focus!

Other gifting considerations

Finally, it is worth noting that other gifting opportunities exist outside the traditional seasonal periods. For example:

  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Weddings
  • Engagements
  • House warming
  • Congratulations

These events present a harder challenge as each can occur at any point. However, the opportunity is there is always someone gift buying, 7 day week, 52 weeks a year. For retailers this presents a different opportunity. Why not dedicate a ‘gift section’ in store and use the techniques discussed to highlight different brand and gifting occasions throughout the year?

Don’t forget, whatever your brand and product, we can help drive your sales throughout the year. Get in touch to discuss your requirements today by calling 01306 644630 or email