Sir: The fury indies have expressed over Coke’s plans to make its previously convenience-exclusive 1.75-litre bottle available across all channels is understandable. It is yet another example of how brands are failing to build a genuine relationship with this sector and is a significant step backwards.

With impulse and convenience set to grow by £10bn by 2018 [IGD October 2012], brands cannot afford to ignore this lucrative sector. It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to invest in building a dialogue with retailers.

Fundamental to that is understanding where the brand can add real value to the retailer and making sure processes are put in place to do that. By providing convenience retailers with access to online support, in the form of a tangible trade support programme, brands can help them streamline the production of bespoke promotional materials and track redemption from the campaigns those materials are used in. All of this adds a real value and shows that the brands not only understand them, but are also prepared to help them take on the big supermarkets.

Brands need to recognise that the convenience sector is not the poor relation of the big four. Convenience retailers should receive the same attention, if not more, to help them attract and retain customers.

Those that invest now in doing this will find themselves streets ahead when the rest of the market wises up.

Jonathan Pritchard, managing partner, Tangent Snowball