Sir: Shoppers are placing ever-greater emphasis on value and displaying lower levels of brand loyalty. At present only 42% have a particular brand in mind when they shop and promotions now account for 40 % of branded sales.

It is possible to run tactical promotions that appeal to price sensitivity without damaging long-term equity, but marketers may need to focus activity away from supermarket shelves. Digital engagement with consumers before they reach the store can have a strong influence on brand loyalty.

By targeting customers as they plan their shop, marketers can exert greater control on how they communicate a brand’s value proposition, and combine short-term promotional tactics with long-term brand-building strategies. They also have the full variety of digital marketing at their disposal. The online environment - unlike the supermarket - provides great scope for creativity, as well as the opportunity for two-way interaction.

As a recent study from IAB and PwC shows, the fmcg sector has become the joint-biggest online ad spender, highlighting that brand marketers are discovering that it is through interesting, entertaining or useful content - such as coupons - that brands can cut through the noise to reach customers and ‘lift’ the brand relationship beyond the purely transactional (and price-driven).

Oliver Felstead, MD, UK & Europe