Adopting a Melting Pot Approach to Collaboration

At the 2016 Path to Purchase Expo, Ines Henrich, VP of Client Services at IN Marketing and Cheryl Policastro, Team Lead at RB, shared how their unique approach to collaboration led to the successful product launch of Amopé™ foot care product at Target.

Henrich and Policastro explained how while many businesses tend to apply win-win approaches to collaboration, where each party works in their own respective lane to reach the same goal, or at times the parallel pathing approach, where parties work in parallel to reach the same goal, they felt it necessary for all involved parties to operate in the same lane as one fully integrated team. This meant all members had to be able step outside of the confines of their traditional roles and immerse themselves into the roles of the other collaborators. They deemed this method of collaboration the “melting pot approach”, defined as “Every member assuming a multi-faceted role within the team to achieve the same goal.” This approach is only successful, however, if every team member is able to view the problem and think of solutions from all facets of the other team members.

For those looking to adopt this approach, they outlined the four key steps as:

  1. Bring together key players with complementary skill sets who are decision makers, action-oriented and open-minded.
  2. Identify the common, overarching goal.
  3. Establish the key barriers from all sides of the business and align on the ones the group will focus on.
  4. Establish the rules of engagement.

The rules of engagement IN and RB established for the launch of Amopé™ included:

  • Think outside your roles and wear different hats throughout the process.
  • Align at key stages of development.
  • Focus on short term but keep long term goal at the forefront.
  • Commit to being open to healthy tension.
  • Approach the process positively, courageously, proactively and efficiently.

Now, in their case, they were looking to help a European brand drive the foot care segment in America, where consumers typically only think of going to the foot care aisle if they have a real issue, like fungus or athlete’s foot. They had to really join forces to think of how to launch this foot file innovation in the U.S., and so they started by setting some goals:

  1. Secure shelf placement, secondary merchandising placement in beauty, and distribution of full line up.
  2. Achieve more than fair share of projected consumption and ensure inventory levels.
  3. Repeat global success in U.S. with speed to market launch.

Then, they identified the barriers to achieving their goals, which included that they were selling-in with only European data and had no U.S. data for the foot care category, the fact that the foot care category is a low priority for consumers and receives low aisle traffic, and last, that there was zero brand awareness of Amopé™ in America. They had to take a name no one recognized with a high-priced, premium product, and introduce it into the American market in a fresh and exciting way.

So, how did they leverage the melting pot approach to tackle these barriers? They began by building out the persona of the Target beauty guest shopper and defined the individual as a beauty seeker as well as beauty shaper, who is mobile and social media savvy, influenced by ratings and reviews, a browser and someone who views shopping at Target as an experience. They then looked at how the Target beauty guest shops, and her layered points of influence. In mapping her journey of influence, they pinpointed that she makes an average weekly trip to Target, her store of choice where she knows she can get the best deal. Already consciously knowing that she’s going to make a trip to Target during the week, she looks online for new products in addition to reading reviews, checking social and her Target Cartwheel mobile app. She then goes to Target and is straight to the beauty aisle, where she is open to shelf messaging, displays and impulse purchasing. The barrier? She is not in the right aisle! So, IN and RB had to figure out how to position Amopé™ to her before even she gets to the store, or redirect her when in the beauty aisle through in-aisle displays and messaging, neither one an easy feat! And so, upon brainstorming, they concluded that in order to be effective, their campaigns had to appeal to her during the times when she is most self-conscious about her feet and thinking about beauty, and thus began to develop campaigns targeted to different seasons and occasions.

Their plan wave 1 began by targeting Black Friday, positioning Amopé™ as a holiday gift for the Target beauty shopper or for their friends. They went about this by leveraging paid for product ratings and reviews. Plan wave 2 targeted Mother’s Day, which included a targeted e-blast, a heavy blogger program and a Twitter party where their bloggers and tweeters promoted beauty gift basket ideas that featured the Amopé™ foot filer along with complementary products to drive the relevancy of the product in the beauty category and optimize social influence. By positioning Amopé™ with other seasonally relevant gift basket items and driving to offers on Target’s Cartwheel app, they really began to gain ground. Plan wave 3 was centered upon gearing up for summer, where they leveraged the need for women to get beauty-ready for summer. They did this with “getting summer ready” themed topic blogging, YouTube style videos, circular ads, side caps, and, the very clever idea of putting hang tags on sandals and flip flops within Target stores that offered $5.00 gift cards, triggering the thought of getting one’s feet ready for summer as part of their “Love Your Feet” campaign, and driving the shopper to the foot care aisle while in the store.

IN Marketing and RB worked together to leverage the success of each wave and build from one to the next. They took a fully omnichannel approach, with each campaign leveraging a multitude of in-store, social and digital tactics. The results? Permanent dual placement, 600% over KPI in sales and 352 MM+ impressions, to name a few.

Key takeaways from the proven effective melting pot approach?

  • Bring your own unique expertise, but be able to wear other hats.
  • Bring together key players with complimentary skill sets.
  • Develop shopper persona and purchase journey plans.
  • Have journey and persona ground everyone as common knowledge to continually refer back to.
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