Instore experiences for challenger brands


In recent years there has been an explosion in the variety and number of smaller, challenger brands launched into the UK retail sector. Everything from craft beers, niche health products and artisan snacks can now be purchased in retailers from Tesco to Whole Food Markets. Great news for consumer choice but presents challenges for new entrants looking to use instore experience as a tool to take on established market leaders, often with smaller budgets. Whilst smaller budgets means less has to be more, at Fizz Experience we believe it is still possible for new brands to achieve growth objectives through brand experiences.

For this blog piece, we take a look at:

  • The biggest challenges facing new brands trying to deliver brand experiences
  • The ‘must haves’ for a successful brand experience
  • Our top tips for fledgling brands to create great brand experiences instore.

Challenger brands instore

The biggest challenges for rising stars and creating brand experiences

First, let’s explore the challenges that need to be overcome in order to successfully deliver brand experiences on tighter budgets:

Resource constraints

Whether it’s time, money or people, vital resources are always going to be in shorter supply for new brands. Using existing data to identify geographical customer hotspots, peak selling days and key retail accounts are vital in understanding where these resources should be deployed. Demand patterns will vary from retailer to retailer and it is important that brand experience resource is closely matched to these requirements. Brand owners should ask “where do I need to concentrate the resource to maximise the return?” Existing sales data will often reveal the answers. Exploring your own website analytics and social media followers can also help understand more about where you should focus.


For the owners of challenger brands, the process of launching a product will take them on a journey into the unknown and may well require skills and expertise they simply don’t have. Working with a specialist supplier who handles your brand with the same level of respect and attention to detail that you would yourself, can remove the stress. This allows you to work on your business, rather than in it! These benefits will often outweigh the costs of outsourcing.

Consumer awareness, trust and loyalty

Being the new kid on the block is hard because no-one knows your name. Instead, consumers prefer to stick with old brands they know and trust. Breaking these long-held loyalties relies on creating an experience that builds awareness and allows your target customers to compare your new offering with established brands. Get it right and you might just surprise them!

Geographical coverage (retail listings)

Securing that first retail listing can feel like a double-edged sword as you try to support instore brand activities such as sampling with a limited resource of the right people in the right locations. Outsourcing to an experienced supplier with UK-wide personnel solves this problem; delivering a skilled resource that can be quickly activated, as and when you need it.

Cash flow

It goes without saying that the phrase “cash is king” is most apt to new brands. Product development, manufacturing and brand design is a costly business. When it comes to marketing your brand to consumers, lots of money has already been invested to it’s important that brand experience returns this investment by driving sales. Consider how you want to ‘tip’ your potential new customers into actually buying your products rather than walking away empty handed. If your product is a more considered purchase, make sure mechanics are in place to remind potential customers next time they shop or when they next need what it is that you offer. Encourage an ongoing relationship following a 1-2-1 experience using social media and other tools.


The ‘must-have’ features of brand experience campaigns (regardless of budget)

Having looked at the challenges, it’s also important to consider the elements that make up a successful brand experience. Keeping these front-of-mind will increase the chances of success:

Be consistent

It is important to maintain consistency in order to build trust with consumers. Everything from branding and instore displays through to messaging and pricing must follow pre-defined guidelines. This will develop credibility for your brand as a reliable offering that consumers can quickly identity against the competition.

Be authentic

Is there a great story behind your brand? Perhaps you’re the great story! Communicating an authentic and compelling story will help build a personal connection with consumers and differentiate your brand from competitors.

Empathise with your customers

Consumers love brands they can relate to…and who can relate to them. Make sure you really ‘get under the skin’ of your consumer persona to demonstrate that you empathise. Face-to-face experiences are a great opportunity to speak to customers, conduct market research and listen to feedback to make sure your brand benefits meet your customers’ needs.

Position the brand against competitors

It’s also important to actively position yourself against your competitors in order to stand out. Actively identify your product and brand attributes that offer or tell the consumer something new…and shout about them!


Brand experience ‘top tips’ for new/challenger brands

So, here are our top tips for avoiding the most common mistakes made by fledgling brands delivering their own brand experiences at retail. By following these simple guides you can avoid the common pitfalls and deliver a successful campaign:

Grab the consumers attention

Attention grabbing instore displayFor many of us, going shopping can cause an ‘auto-pilot’ switch to activate, meaning we  walk the same path in store, picking up the same products from the same shelves. Look to break this cycle and introduce consumers to your brand by creating a strong visual presence.

Keep it simple

If there’s less resource to say it with, say less! Think about the one thing you want consumers to remember about your brand and build the experience around delivering that message.

Remember its about the senses

The biggest advantage of being in front of your customers is the opportunity to engage all 5 senses…don’t waste it! Ask yourself, how can I make this look, sound, smell, feel and taste as good as possible with the resources I have?

Encourage sharing

A great way of maximising return is to increase the reach of your campaign. Be sure to encourage consumers to share the experience via social media by offering incentives (prizes, rewards, etc.) and platforms (specific #hashtags etc) to do so.


The following case illustrates this approach.

RED•RED STEWS CASE STUDY: Product sampling in Whole Foods Markets

Red Red Stews

Fizz worked with new brand Red•Red to launch its range of ‘Super Stews’ in Whole Foods Markets in April 2018. With simple objectives to encourage consumers to sample the product and drive sales, the Fizz sampling team delivered a no-nonsense brand experience. It underlined the products credentials as a healthy, on-the-go food suitable for a range of applications from office lunches and travelling to camping and school lunch.

The campaign closely followed the principles of good instore experiences:

Be consistent

Red•Red have a very clear set of brand guidelines that builds a strong visual identity. Red•Red pots bring lunchtime to life by collaborating with some of the brightest creative talents from London, Lagos and beyond across art, design, fashion and more. This was brought to life instore through the use of simple props in-line with the brand to create a strong visual presentation.

Be authentic

Red Red Stews brand storyThere is a terrific story behind the brand. Inspired by Africa and remixed by London, Red•Red Super Stews were developed through collaborating with innovative, creative partners to celebrate the vibrancy of African culture through food, art, fashion and more. Red•Red comes in 3 variants, all united by a bit of spiciness and a commitment to sharing the energy, diversity and creativity of Africa through mini-meals made with natural, plant-based ingredients.


Consumers are looking for quick, exciting food solutions without sacrificing quality. The Red•Red team partnered with celebrated chef and passionate taste explorer Zoe Adjonyoh from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. Her delicious recipes were edited down into dry, potted form to make it quick and easy to taste African flavours on the go; all you need is seven minutes, a couple of little stirs and 240ml of boiled water. In addition, consumers care about the impact on the supply chain of the food they buy. The vision for Red•Red is to be a force for good; supporting African growers. The brand has partnered with Farm Africa, an NGO that supports sustainable agriculture programs in eastern Africa, and donating 12p from every pot sold towards their work.

Position against competitors

Unlike other kettle-to-lunch concoctions, Red•Red is vegan and gluten free, made using nothing but plant-based ingredients. Think okra, lentils, red beans and sweet potato, to name but a few. These are made all the more mouthwatering with a combination of bold herbs and spices. Every pot also clocks in at under 300 calories. This allows the brand to differentiate itself against many competitors.



Red Red Stews sampling in Whole Foods MarketSampling activity focused on Whole Foods stores in London – allowing Red Red to target busy urban workers looking for a healthy and easy lunch on-the-go. Throughout April, 4 locations saw sampling activity with sales uplifts from initial activity currently at 255%.

Don’t forget, whatever your brand and product, if you’re looking for experts we can help drive your sales through brand experience. Get in touch for a chat to discuss your requirements today by calling 01306 644630 or email