There is no better way to promote your product than consumer tasting. I mean let’s be honest – everyone loves free food!
Product sampling is an important part of the campaigns we run at RED. It might be in-store, retailer head office, on-street or supper clubs. Although run in different ways, they all share the same end goal: product exposure, brand awareness, consumer feedback and ultimately increased sales. The beauty of sampling is the opportunity to engage directly with consumers; to discover how they react initially to your product, to get their feedback post tasting and to educate them on your product’s USPs.
In-store sampling is a great way to encourage immediate purchase. Implementation is complex, so we highly recommend ensuring you have an efficient, proactive team on board that can project manage from start to finish. Attention to detail is key in this scenario: just one element being overlooked can impact on the whole activity. Ideally you want to secure an area in-store with a high footfall and close to your product on-shelf. Also make sure your category buyer has allocated a higher unit quantity for potential sell-through. The sampling team will brief the staff in-store, so be clear and specific in how you want your product to be promoted.
Head office sampling is a great way to get the retailer excited about your product. We often bring a campaign mascot along as it makes for a more interactive, fun environment. It also creates fantastic photos to use for further promotional activity, particularly social media. We always like to involve suppliers in our head office sampling due to their extensive product knowledge on origin, ethics, UK consumption etc. Collaborating with head office catering teams is a way of getting your product in the canteen; incorporating it within the menu promotes your product’s versatility and provides recipe inspiration for consumers.
The main factors to consider when on-street sampling are location, a high-energy sampling team and the day/s you choose to run the activity. Your location needs to ideally be a large town or city and in a high footfall area. We recently ran avocado sampling in Brighton, which operated within the vicinity of Brighton station; this enabled us to reach a mix of both commuters and consumers on a day trip. In order to draw in the crowds – you’ll need a motivated, fun and friendly team who will have an impact on the way consumers leave thinking about your brand. We all know the feeling of dread that occurs when Mr Promo and his clipboard are ready to pounce in the distance and you’re forced to take an alternative route; there’s nothing worse than a drawn out survey mid-shop! We used ‘Avo Man’ during the Brighton sampling, who received a great response from consumers.
We also toured ‘Avo Man’ around various London publishing houses, again to promote Peruvian avocados, whilst delivering Mae Deli lunches to journalists. Although getting in front of your desired journalist can be tricky and press/social media coverage therefore sparse, if you get it right, it is extremely effective. On this particular occasion we received a surfeit of both – undoubtedly due to being in the midst of ‘avo-mania’ at the time and the set of abs delivering them.
Last month we had the pleasure of managing a stand at the BBC Good Food Show for the Ministry of Commerce Thailand. As part of the activity, we ran chef demonstrations which enabled consumers to not only watch recipes being made, but to taste the dishes and products we were promoting. This strategy creates an opportunity for consumers to engage with chefs directly and enhance their knowledge of our products versatility. It’s also a great way for product suppliers to utilise chefs in order to up-sell.
Supper clubs are a fantastic way to engage with the press in an informal environment. Have a read of our blog post ‘Why Supper Club?’ for more tips on this approach to sampling.